BACKGROUND: Disease management programs have been shown to improve health outcomes in high risk individuals in many but not all health care systems. METHODS: Young @ Heart is a multi-centre, randomised controlled study of a nurse-led, home-based intervention (HBI) program vs. usual care (UC) in privately insured patients in Australia aged ≥ 45 years following an acute cardiac admission. Intensity of HBI is tailored to an individual's clinical stability, management and risk profile. The primary endpoint is the rate of all-cause stay during a mean of 2.5 years follow-up. RESULTS: A target of 602 adults (72% men) were randomised to HBI (n=306) or UC (n=296); their initial profiles being well matched. At baseline, 71% were overweight (body mass index 29.7 ± 3.9 kg/m(2)) and 66% had an elevated blood pressure (153 ± 18/89 ± 7 mm Hg). Over half had a history of smoking and 39% had a sub-optimal total cholesterol level >4 mmol/L. Overall, 62% (376 cases) were treated for coronary artery disease (27% with multi-vessel disease and 39% underwent cardiac revascularisation). A further 20% (120 cases) were treated for a cardiac arrhythmia (predominantly atrial fibrillation) and 19% type 2 diabetes mellitus. At 7-14 days post-discharge, 293 (96%) HBI patients received a home visit triggering urgent clinical review and/or enhanced clinical management in many patients. CONCLUSIONS: The Young @ Heart intervention is a well accepted and potentially effective intervention to reduce recurrent hospital stay in privately insured cardiac patients in Australia.