Background: Optimum transfer of energy from the left ventricle to the arterial circulation requires appropriate matching of these mechanical systems. Left ventricular-arterial coupling describes this relationship between the ventricular elastance (Ees) and arterial elastance (Ea). The ratio of these elastances defines the efficiency of myocardium and provides in our study a useful technique for assessment of the actions of remifentanil. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of remifentanil on ventriculo-arterial coupling in cardiac surgery in patients with coronary artery disease. Methods: Fourteen patients with coronary artery disease, submitted intraoperatively to cardiac anesthesia for myocardial revascularization, were examined prospectively. With the use of transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) and different dicrotic arterial pressures, we determined the ventricle elastance (Ees), the arterial elastance (Ea) and myocardial efficiency before and after administration of a slow-bolus of remifentanil (1 µ kg−1). Results: Remifentanil decreases significantly the ventricular elastance (from 6.09 mmHg ml−1 m−2 to 4.88) (P < 0.05), with a less, but however, significant decrease of arterial elastance (from 3.68 mmHg ml−1 m−2 to 3.13) (P < 0.05). Despite causing simultaneous declines, maintains a good myocardial efficiency (0.64–0.68) with no significant difference. Conclusion: Although remifentanil depresses ventricular and arterial elastance, preserves a good left ventricular-arterial coupling and mechanical efficiency, despite a little increase of coupling. However, these effects are maintained only during a slow intravenous infusion and are dose-dependent with impairment of coupling, that may contribute to decline in overall cardiovascular performance, at higher anesthetic dose and rapid infusion in patients with a severe myocardial dysfunction.