Combined heart-lung transplantation has been used for end-stage primary pulmonary hypertension. Experience with single-lung transplantation for other conditions suggested that associated severe right ventricular dysfunction resulting from increased afterload would recover after placement of a satisfactory lung allograft. Early experience with the application of single-lung transplantation for pulmonary hypertension supports this contention. We devised a reversible canine model of chronic progressive pressure-overloaded right heart failure by pulmonary artery banding to study the echocardiographic, hemodynamic, and pathological reversibility of the failing right heart. Clinical right heart failure was defined as the development of ascites and pleural effusions. Right heart failure developed in 23 dogs 67 to 348 days after banding, and they were divided into two groups to determine its early and long-term effects. Group 1 dogs (n = 11) were either sacrificed immediately after the onset of right heart failure (n = 5) or unbanded (n = 6); group 2 dogs (n = 12) were maintained in right heart failure for 3 months and then either sacrificed (n = 6) or unbanded. Unbanded dogs in both groups were observed for 4 additional months before sacrifice. A control group of 6 normal dogs was sacrificed for pathological comparisons. After unbanding, the right ventricular systolic pressure fell from 97 ± 17 mm Hg (group 1) and 88 ± 31 mm Hg (group 2) to 44 ± 11 mm Hg and 47 ± 13 mm Hg, respectively. Despite this persistent gradient across the pulmonary artery, echocardiographic and hemodynamic measures of right ventricular function returned to normal, albeit more slowly in the group 2 dogs. Pathologic examination revealed incomplete regression of hypertrophy and persistent mild fibrosis in both groups. There was no difference in the degree of recovery between the acute and chronic failure groups. These results suggest that reduction of pulmonary afterload permits right ventricular recovery and supports the application of lung transplantation in patients with severe pulmonary hypertension.