A case of aortic valve stenosis is reported with progressive left ventricular dysfunction demonstrated by radionuclide angiography. A gradient of 120 mmHg was present across the aortic valve. At the time of surgery, the patient was in severe cardiac failure with a left ventricular ejection fraction of 22%. Two months postoperatively, the patient was asymptomatic, and repeat radionuclide angiography demonstrated an ejection fraction of 93%. The reversible nature of this patient's ventricular dysfunction suggests that the cardiac failure was related to 'afterload mismatch' caused by the stenotic valve, rather than due to depressed contractility. The encouraging result in this patient reinforces the view that surgical intervention is warranted in some patients with critical aortic stenosis and extreme impairment of left ventricular function, and that the close relation between ejection fraction and operative survival may not hold true in aortic stenosis.