Background: Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the largest single cause of death in Australia. It places a heavy financial burden on the country's health system. To date, no study has systematically assessed CHD-related productivity loss in Australia. Objective: To quantify CHD-related productivity loss in Australia using both the human capital method and the friction method. Methods: Mathematical models adjusting for economic activity, unemployment and the elasticity of productivity loss of labour reduction were proposed for the quantification. Where Australian data were unavailable, parameters were estimated using data from studies in European countries. Sensitivity analysis was conducted around uncertain parameters. Results: The annual potential CHD-related productivity loss was estimated to be Australian dollars ($A)1.79 billion in 2004 using the human capital method. The potential loss was considerably higher than the actual loss, estimated to be $A25.02 million using the friction method. Conclusions: CHD results in significant productivity loss in Australia. A valid economic evaluation of the full scale of the impact of CHD should consider the potential and actual productivity loss as well as the direct healthcare costs incurred by the disease.