Retrograde coronary sinus perfusion has recently reemerged as an attractive means of delivering cardioplegic solutions during open heart procedures. In patients undergoing aortic valve or aortic root surgery, there is no evidence that coronary sinus cardioplegia results in a better myocardial protection than that achieved with the use of standard methods of anterograde cardioplegia delivery. However, the retrograde approach provides distinct technical advantages that might favor its use as an alternative to direct coronary ostial cannulation. In select subgroups of patients undergoing coronary bypass procedures, there is a growing body of evidence that the coronary sinus route may be more effective than the anterograde route because of its superior capacity to ensure homogeneous distribution of cooling and cardioplegia in myocardial areas supplied by occluded arteries. The well established safety of coronary sinus cardioplegia in the clinical setting further justifies its inclusion among techniques for ensuring adequate myocardial preservation during surgically induced ischemic arrest. © 1991.