Background. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of ischemic preconditioning (IP) on myocardium and the level of nitric oxide (NO) in patients undergoing aorta-coronary bypass surgery. Methods: Twenty consecutive patients with coronary artery disease were subjected into two equal groups; the IP group and the control group. Following the onset of cardiopulmonary bypass in the study group, hearts were preconditioned with two 3-minute periods of cross-clamping separated by 2 minutes of reperfusion. In the control group, cardiopulmonary bypass was continued for 10 minutes without using cross-clamp. Arterial and coronary sinus blood samples were used to determine serum NO, malondialdehyde (MDA), creatine phosphokinase-MB (CKMB), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels. Need for defibrillation after cross-clamp removal, ECG changes, postoperative arrhythmias, ejection fraction, and fractional shortening rates were recorded as hemodynamic data. Results: Serum NO level was higher in the study group 5 minutes after aortic clamp removal (199.3 +/- 92.7 vs. 112.2 +/- 35.8 mu mol; p = 001). Serum MDA (2.55 +/- 0.4 vs. 4.06 +/- 0.5; eta mol/ml; 5 minutes after the aortic clamp removal; p = 0.0002); CK-MB (22.8 +/- 2.5 vs. 37.4 +/- 4.1; U/L 12 hours after the operation, p < 0.0001), and LDH (501.8 +/- 46.7 vs. 611.4 +/- 128.3; IU/L 48 hours after the operation, p = 0.02) levels were significantly lower in the preconditioned group when compared with the control group. Also, need for electrical defibrillation was significantly lower in the study group; Ejection fraction (64.3 +/- 6.3 vs. 57.6 +/- 7.6; P = 0.04) and fractional shortening (31.7 +/- 3.9 vs. 26.2 +/- 4.0; p = 0.04) rates were better in the study group postoperatively. Conclusions: These data may suggest that cardioprotection by ischemic preconditioning offers higher NO production, a lower myocardial ischemia, and better functional recovery of the hearts in coronary artery surgery patients.