Utilizing a prospective longitudinal design, the recovery pattern of 91 heart patients was followed for the first 8 weeks following coronary artery by-pass graft surgery The patients' perceived and actual performance of walking, their resumption of roles, and social support and family functioning were measured pre-operatively and at 4 and 8 weeks postoperatively Findings indicate that recovery is swift in terms of health and physical functioning, somewhat more time-consuming in terms of role functioning, and delayed with regard to work-related role activities Contrary to American findings, the heart surgery recovery process did not significantly affect family functioning in this Norwegian sample Social support was experienced as high throughout the recovery period, with spouses and children being the main providers