This study examines the impact of a preadmission telephone intervention on anxiety, knowledge, and readiness for discharge for patients attending a preadmission teaching program prior to cardiac surgery. The primary goal of the telephone intervention was to provide support by giving additional information about individual concerns. The telephone intervention did not have an effect on anxiety and knowledge. A significantly higher level of anxiety was found in the experimental group on admission, but this difference became nonsignificant when baseline level and length of waiting time were entered as covariates. The more anxious group rated their perceived knowledge level lower, despite the fact that both groups had similar scores in actual knowledge. Given the potential barrier that anxiety can pose for patient learning, nurses need to adapt their interventions to deal with the patients' feelings of anxiety that accompany cardiac surgery to make the learning process effective.