Vocational reintegration is one of the major goals of cardiac rehabilitation. 70 % of blue-collar workers under 50 years of age resume their job after in-patient cardiac rehabilitation. 10 % are hindered to do so by cardiac problems. Specific measures exist that may facilitate work resumption. As these measures should be started as soon as possible there is a need for predictors of return to work which can be obtained easily and at an early stage. Subjects of this prospective study were 650 patients (10 % female) under 50 years of age who participated in an in-patient cardiac rehabilitation programme under the workers' pension insurance scheme. At the beginning of programme participation, problems in work resumption as expected by the patient and by his physician were obtained, as well as depression and anxiety scores (HADS-D). Physicians' and patients' expectations concerning problems in resuming work turn out to be significant predictors of the vocational situation of the male patients six months following medical rehabilitation. The depression score obtained at the outset of the programme is the only predictor of return to work in female patients.