AIMS: The aim of this study is to assess the impact of obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) on outcomes after liver transplantation. BACKGROUND: Patients considered for liver transplantation are at an increased risk for CAD. Obstructive CAD is a contraindication for liver transplantation at most centres. However, the association between severity of CAD and liver transplantation outcomes remains poorly characterized. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 386 consecutive liver transplantations performed between January 2001 and December 2005 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH). A comparative analysis was conducted for a national cohort (n = 23 820) from the United Network for Organ Sharing database. Outcome measures included patient and graft survival, rates of acute myocardial infarction and heart failure. RESULTS: Patient survival remained similar irrespective of CAD severity or cardiovascular risk index (CRI) in the NMH cohort. The CRI closely correlated with the presence of CAD in the NMH cohort [CRI 0, odds ratio (OR) 0.125, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.02-0.61, P = 0.01; CRI 1, OR 1 reference; CRI >/=2, OR 2.28, 95% CI 1.09-4.75, P = 0.02]. In the national cohort using Cox regression, high (>/=2) CRI (reference 0, hazard ratio 1.376, 95% CI 1.271-1.488, P < 0.0001) predicted patient mortality and exceeded established risk factors, including Hepatitis C virus (HCV) (hazard ratio 1.321, 95% CI 1.242-1.403, P < 0.0001), hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) (hazard ratio 1.27, 95% CI 1.181-1.370, P < 0.0001) and diabetes (hazard ratio 1.241, 95% CI 1.160-1.326, P < 0.0001). CONCLUSION: Liver transplantation in patients with CAD is not associated with prohibitive risk for cardiac events and patient mortality. Appropriately treated CAD should therefore not represent a contraindication to liver transplantation.