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This study evaluated the effectiveness of an eight-session mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) group intervention programme for treating depression in coronary heart disease (CHD) patients. Thirty-two depressed CHD patients were assigned to an MBCT treatment group, and a demographically and clinically similar group of 30 cases were assigned to a waiting list control group. Participants were evaluated at baseline, 8 weeks, and 6-month follow-up with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), Profile of Mood States (POMS), Psychosocial Adjustment to Illness Scale (PAIS) and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). After each session, MBCT participants completed the post-session Questionnaire on helpful aspects of therapy and after the programme, completed the Client Satisfaction Questionnaire. At follow-up, 71 % of the MBCT group was clinically recovered from depression compared with 50 % of the control group. The MBCT group showed significantly greater improvement than the control group on all measures with effect sizes at follow-up of d = 0.43–1.0. Increases in mindfulness on the MAAS correlated significantly with improvements on the HADS, BSI, POMS and PAIS. Key helpful aspects of therapy identified by MBCT participants included learning meditation, obtaining group support and developing optimism. There was a high level of satisfaction with the MBCT programme. These results indicate that a randomized controlled trial of MBCT for depressed CHD patients is now warranted.