The reuse of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) balloon catheters has recently been proposed as a way of containing costs. Our aim was to examine patient acceptability of this strategy. We asked 100 consecutive patients scheduled for potential or definite PTCA whether they would permit the use of sterilized, reused balloon catheters. We collected demographic, clinical, angiographic, and insurance-status data on all patients. Sixty-eight patients responded that they would have allowed reused equipment (group 1). Thirty-two patients would have refused (group 2). Only three group 2 patients could be enticed to change their opinions by appealing to their altruism or self-interest. The two groups of patients could not be distinguished by any variable, including insurance status. We conclude that a sufficient number of patients would be willing to permit reused PTCA equipment for such programs to be implemented successfully from a logistic standpoint. However, the disapproval by one third of patients raises the possibility of adverse publicity and litigation for institutions using such strategies.