High energy phosphate levels are depressed following global ischemia and require several days to completely recover. Short-term methods to enhance ATP recovery have included infusion of ATP precursors, inhibition of enzymes that catabolize AMP, and membrane transport stabilization. Several precursors have been used to augment adenine nucleotide synthesis including adenosine, inosine, adenine, and ribose. Because of the short-term nature of previous experiments, recovery had been incomplete and the effects in the intact animal unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of ribose infusion in a long-term model of global ischemia and attempt to identify the precursor which limits myocardial ATP regeneration in the intact animal. Global myocardial ischemia (20 min, 37°C) was produced in dogs on cardiopulmonary bypass. With reperfusion either ribose (80 mM) in normal saline or normal saline alone was infused at 1 ml/min into the right atrium and the animals were followed for 24 hr. Ventricular biopsies were obtained through an indwelling ventricular cannula prior to ischemia, at the end of ischemia, and 4 and 24 hr postischemia and analyzed for adenine nucleotides and creatine phosphate levels. Radiolabeled microspheres were used to measure myocardial and renal blood flows and no significant difference was found between ribose-treated control groups. In both groups, myocardial ATP levels fell by at least 50% at the end of ischemia. No significant ATP recovery occurred after 24 hr in the control dogs, but in the ribose-treated animals, ATP levels rebounded to 85% of control by 24 hr. Total myocardial adenine nucleotide content and energy charge also recovered in the ribose group but not in the control animals. The ribose infusion, therefore, significantly enhanced the recovery of energy levels in the postischemic myocardium in the intact animals.