To define the clinical, angiographic and procedural correlates of quantitative coronary dimensions after directional coronary atherectomy, 400 lesions in 378 patients were analyzed with use of qualitative morphologic and quantitative angiographic methods. Successful atherectomy, defined by a less than 75% residual area stenosis, tissue retrieval and the absence of in-hospital ischemic complications, was performed in 351 lesions (87.7%). After atherectomy, minimal cross-sectional area increased from 1.2 +/- 1.1 to 6.6 +/- 4.4 mm2 (p less than 0.001) and percent area stenosis was reduced from 87 +/- 10% to 31 +/- 42% (p less than 0.001). By univariate analysis, device size (p less than 0.001) and left circumflex artery lesion location (p = 0.004) were associated with a larger final minimal cross-sectional area. Conversely, restenotic lesion (p = 0.002), lesion length greater than or equal to 10 mm (p = 0.018) and lesion calcification (p = 0.035) were quantitatively associated with a smaller final minimum cross-sectional area. With use of stepwise multivariate analysis to control for the reference area, atherectomy device size (p = 0.003) and left circumflex lesion location (p = 0.007) were independently associated with a larger final minimal cross-sectional area, whereas restenotic lesion (p = 0.010), diffuse proximal disease (p = 0.033), lesion length greater than or equal to 10 mm (p = 0.026) and lesion calcification (p = 0.081) were significantly correlated with a smaller final minimal cross-sectional area. The number of specimens excised, the number of atherectomy passes and atherectomy balloon inflation pressure did not correlate with the final minimal cross-sectional area. Thus, directional atherectomy results in marked improvement of coronary lumen dimensions, at least in part correlated with the presence of certain clinical, angiographic and procedural factors at the time of atherectomy.