This study was undertaken to assess the respective values of pulsed and continuous laser emission for in vitro recanalisation of very stenosed atheromatous human coronary arteries. The Nd-YAG laser used emitted a 10 Hz 10 ns burst in the infrared band (1 064 microns). Previous spectroscopic studies had shown no specific band of absorption in the spectral field of emission of the usual lasers. The laser beam was focused in the axis of the segment of coronary artery irradiated. The crater or neo lumen obtained usually had irregular walls. No perforation of the arterial wall or macroscopic debris were observed. Histological studies showed minimal burn lesions with sparse coagulation necrosis limited to a few tens of micron thickness. The percentage recanalisation obtained with pulses of 200 mJ attained 50% for a total energy of 450 J delivered in 2 mn. This study confirmed the feasibility of disobliteration of atheromatous coronary arteries by pulsed laser. Our results suggest that ultra short pulsed laser acts more by a mechanical than by a thermal mechanism which may lead to less side effects than observed in vivo with continuous laser emission.