Background The population incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) has been declining in Australia and many other countries. This decline has been due to reduced population levels of risk factors for CHD and improved medical care for those at higher risk of CHD. However, there are signs that there may be a slowing down or even reversal in the decline of CHD incidence due to the obesity epidemic and other factors and this will have implications for the requirements for surgical treatments for those with CHD. Methods Using a validated Markov simulation model applied to the population of Western Australia, different CHD incidence trend scenarios were developed to explore the effect of changing CHD incidence on requirements for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) and percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI), together known as coronary artery revascularization procedures (CARPs). Results The most dominant component of CHD incidence is the risk of CHD hospital admission for those with no history of CHD and if this risk leveled off and the trends in all other risks continued unchanged, then the projected numbers of CABGs and PCIs are only minimally changed. Further, the changes in the projected numbers remained small even when this risk was increased by 20 percent (although it is an unlikely scenario). However, when the other CHD incidence components that had also been declining, namely, the risk of CABG and that of CHD death for those with no history of CHD, were also projected to level off as these were declining in 1998-2000 and the risk of PCI for those with no history of CHD (which was already increasing) was projected to further increase by 5 percent, it had a substantial effect on the projected numbers of CARPs.