Previously published average curves of heart rate and duration of ischemia in patients with coronary artery disease, studied while on placebo or on treatment with either atenolol or diltiazem, are re-analysed for the assessment of about-daily (circadian) and about-weekly (circaseptan) changes in these variables and of any treatment effect on rhythm characteristics. In addition to circadians, a circaseptan pattern characterizes the duration of ischemia in all three aforementioned study stages. Both drugs decrease the duration of ischemia; atenolol, but not diltiazem, also affects the circadian amplitude and acrophase of this variable. A circaseptan pattern is also found for heart rate on placebo and on treatment with atenolol, but not with diltiazem. Both drugs lower heart rate and the circadian amplitude and 24-h standard deviation of heart rate, atenolol much more markedly than diltiazem. Circadian and circaseptan rhythm characteristics and their alterations with treatment serve to optimize treatment by timing its administration. Chronobiologic surveillance of variables that are being readily monitored as- one-goes by modern implantable devices can also serve for the validation of the effectiveness of drug and electrical therapy. Rhythm alterations, in turn, can provide the earliest warnings of an elevated disease risk and lead to an improved diagnosis.