Glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) is used to control arterial blood pressure during cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) procedures, but its effects are often decreased during the period of extracorporeal support. The plasma and urine concentrations of GTN and glyceryl-1,2-dinitrate (1,2-GDN) and glyceryl-1,3-dinitrate (1,3-GDN) for male and female patients who received GTN during hypothermic CPB, and male and female patients who were given GTN during normothermic CPB, were measured by gas-liquid chromatography. During hypothermic CPB, the male and female subjects experienced significant decreases in GTN clearance (P < 0.05), 66% and 52%, respectively. Neither the males nor the females who underwent normothermic CPB experienced any significant change in GTN clearance. These results suggest that the lower core temperature during hypothermic CPB may decrease the biotransformation of GTN to GDNs and nitric oxide, thereby resulting in less dilation of blood vessels. Furthermore, the males in the hypothermic CPB group had significantly greater urinary concentrations of 1,3-GDN and 1,2-GDN than the females (P < 0.05), and the normothermic CPB males had a significantly greater urinary concentration of 1,2-GDN than the females in that group. The normothermic CPB males also had significantly higher plasma concentration of GTN at two time points, and 1,3-GDN at one time point, than the females. These data suggest that there may be a gender difference in GTN biotransformation.