In a case-control study 49 consecutive post-coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) patients (10 f, 39 m) participating in a comprehensive rehabilitation programme were compared with 98 individually matched double control patients, receiving standard care. The rehabilitation programme, starting 6 weeks after surgery, consisted of follow-up at a coronary clinic, repeated health education, and physical training in out-patient groups. During the first year after CABG, fewer study group patients were readmitted to hospital (14% vs 32%, p less than 0.01) and on fewer occasions (1.1 vs 2.9, p less than 0.05). Fewer patients used anxiolytic drugs (0% vs 15%, p less than 0.01). At the one year post-CABG exercise test we found in the study group a tendency to a greater increase in work capacity, as compared with the values obtained at the preoperative exercise test (33 vs 25 W ns). There were no differences in the rates of returning to work (59% vs 64%). In a long-term follow-up study (av. 38 months post-CABG) the patients were asked to fill in a questionnaire evaluating perceived physical work capacity and training habits. The study group patients rated their physical work capacity higher, and more patients had continued with regular physical training (66% vs 46%, p = 0.05). There were fewer patients using anxiolytic drugs (9% vs 30%, p less than 0.01). Although the programme did not influence the return to work we conclude that it improved the quality of life of our patients as it entailed fewer readmissions and reduced the use of anxiolytic medication; in addition it promoted physical fitness and training habits.