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This study evaluated the effectiveness of cardiac counseling and rehabilitation programs led by a nurse counselor, compared with normal care on outcomes for myocardial infarction (MI) patients and their partners.A randomized controlled trial with follow-up to 1 year was conducted with 100 patients recruited within 72 hours of a first MI and their partners: a Control group received normal care; an Inpatient group received cardiac rehabilitation from a nurse counselor while in hospital; and an Extended group received the same cardiac rehabilitation as the Inpatient group, but with additional sessions continuing up to 6 weeks after discharge from hospital. The scales for main outcome measures were 1) knowledge of heart disease and treatment (correct, misconceptions, and uncertainty); 2) mood (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale); 3) satisfaction; 4) disability (Functional Limitations Profile).Inpatient cardiac counseling and rehabilitation resulted in more knowledge, less anxiety, less depression, and greater satisfaction with care in both patients and partners and in less disability in patients, with effects enduring to 1 year. There was some evidence of additional benefit from the Extended program. Both nurse counselors achieved benefits on all outcome variables.This Inpatient cardiac counseling and rehabilitation program resulted in significant and enduring benefits of clinical value. It is likely that it would be acceptable to most post-MI patients, many of whom are not offered or are unable to accept outpatient cardiac rehabilitation.