One hundred patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) were studied to determine which factors affect their baseline knowledge and retention of knowledge about CAD and whether CAD classes are an effective teaching tool. All patients were given a pretest about CAD. Patients then attended a 1-hour rehabilitation class about CAD. One month later, they were given an identical posttest. Pretest scores had a negative correlation with patient age and positive correlations with the number of years of formal education, the number of previous myocardial infarctions, and the number of previous CAD classes attended. Posttest scores had a positive correlation with the number of previous CAD classes attended. There was a significant relationship between learning and marital status, with married patients learning better than unmarried patients. Comparison of patients' pretest and posttest scores revealed a highly significant improvement. Based on the results of this study, the CAD rehabilitation class is an effective tool for rehabilitation of the cardiac patient; additional teaching effort should be focused on unmarried patients. Factors such as age, education, smoking and alcohol consumption histories, and number of previous CAD classes attended do not affect learning in the interventional phase.