Cardiovascular diseases cause more disability and economic loss in industrialized nations than any other group of diseases. In previous work [Nurs Res 49 (2000a) 1], most coronary artery bypass graft patients (CABG, N=225 ) reported unrelieved pain and received inadequate analgesics. This study proposed to evaluate a preadmission education intervention to reduce pain and related activity interference after CABG surgery. Patients (N=406) were randomly assigned to (a) standard care or (b) standard care+pain booklet group. Data were examined at the preadmission clinic and across days 1-5 after surgery. Outcomes were pain-related interference (BPI-I), pain (MPQ-SF), analgesics (chart), concerns about taking analgesics (BQ-SF), and satisfaction (American Pain Society-POQ). The impact of sex was explored related to primary and secondary outcomes. The intervention group did not have better overall pain management although they had some reduction in pain-related interference in activities ( t(355)=2.54, P<0.01) and fewer concerns about taking analgesics ( F(1,313)=2.7, P<0.05) on day 5. Despite moderate 24-h pain intensity across 5 days, patients in both groups received inadequate analgesics (i.e. 33% prescribed dose). Women reported more pain and pain-related interference in activities than men. The booklet was rated as helpful, particularly by women. In conclusion, the intervention did not result in a clinically significant improvement in pain management outcomes. In future, an intervention that considers sex-specific needs and also involves educating the health professionals caring for these patients may influence these results.