my $rowCount = $dbh->selectrow_array(

                                 qq{

                                      SELECT count(*)

                                         FROM my_table

                                       WHERE attr1 = ?
                                },undef,
                                $myValue);
In theory it's a bad thing to assume a select will return a single scalar value instead of multiple attributes and rows, however with a count clause we should be pretty safe. N.B. using the $dbh->rows() function or similar is not correct on a select statement. Modified after a suggestion from Randal. Thanks mate.