BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: here are several reports of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) having beneficial effects on the reduction of cardiovascular mortality and in the prevention of recurrent coronary events in patient with myocardial infarction (MI). An 8-week CR program was investigated to see if it affected the prognostic factors, such as inflammatory markers, after acute MI. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: 33 male and 5 female patients, with a mean age of 55+/-10 yrs, were consecutively assigned to the CR (n=19) and the control (n=19) groups three weeks after acute MI. The 8-week CR program consisted of life style modification and aerobic exercise training. At the baseline, and after 8 weeks, the symptom limited exercise test and peripheral blood sampling were performed to measure the physiologic capacity, the serum levels of high sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and the plasma levels of interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha. The interval changes of each parameter were compared between the two groups. RESULTS: The interval increments of the maximal oxygen uptake (14.3% vs. 10.6%, CR vs. control group, p=0.014), anaerobic threshold (18.8% vs. 7.0%, CR vs. control group, p=0.044) and exercise duration (9.4% vs. 3.1%, CR vs. control group, p=0.009) were larger in the CR than in the control group. The magnitudes of the interval changes in hs-CRP, IL-6 and TNF-alpha, as inflammatory markers, did not differ between the two groups (p>0.05). CONCLUSION: This 8-week CR program demonstrated an improved exercise capacity for MI patients, but a larger clinical trial, with modified exercise intensity and duration, will be necessary to detect any possible effect on the inflammatory markers.