OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to analyse to what extent individuals with coronary heart disease (CHD) leave the labour market earlier than individuals without CHD and to discuss the implications for rehabilitation. DATA AND METHODS Individuals with CHD were identified from the Danish National Cohort study and were followed from the year of their first hospital admission for CHD and onwards for up to 23 years. Individuals with CHD were individually matched with individuals without CHD. We analysed their short-term labour market participation and compared the long-term withdrawal risk for the two groups through Cox regression. RESULTS In the year after the first CHD-related admission, 79% of individuals with CHD maintained their labour force participation compared with 93% of individuals without CHD. Individuals with CHD had a hazard ratio of 1.32 for withdrawal compared with their matched counterparts. This means that the individuals with CHD were on the labour market, on average, for 0.8 years less than the individuals without CHD. Stratified analyses showed that, in particular, individuals with CHD aged below 60 years and individuals employed as manual labour may benefit from cardiac rehabilitation, which aims to maintain labour market participation. CONCLUSION Individuals with CHD have a significantly increased risk of withdrawing from the labour market. Especially younger individuals and those employed as manual labour seem to have greater problems in maintaining labour market participation. This suggests that greater focus in cardiac rehabilitation on returning these individuals to the labour market might be worthwhile.