The attention to patient outcome has nowadays extended from morbidity and mortality to an aspect of patients' benefits in terms of quality of life. One factor crucial for quality of life is coping capacity, in this study represented by the sense of coherence concept. Physical status and emotional state (often measured by comprehensive instruments not always suitable for clinical use) are also additionally used to reflect quality of life. The purpose was therefore to study sense of coherence and emotional state as indirect measures of quality of life in relation to coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. One hundred and eleven patients were studied by a developed questionnaire on five occasions in relation to the surgery: the week before the angiography, the day before surgery and then at 3, 6, and 12 months post-operatively. The main findings were: (1) The sense of coherence was changed (more than +/-10%) from before to 1 year after surgery in 41% of the patients, which is contrary to the theory of sense of coherence as a stable personality characteristic in adults. (2) Experience of depressed mood, stress, and anxiety decreased significantly from before to after surgery. (3) Beneficial outcome with regard to sense of coherence was significantly related to less experience of loneliness, depressed mood, stress and anxiety, and to less experience of chest pain 1 year after surgery. In conclusion, sense of coherence and emotional state variables, are suggested to be valuable as measurements of quality of life in relation to coronary artery bypass grafting surgery.