Large increases in inflammatory markers, particularly IL-6, occur after cardiac surgery. However, despite interventions to reduce the inflammatory response, great variability still remains which could in part be attributable to genetic predisposition. Since increased IL-6 levels following surgery are also associated with poorer outcome we sought to determine whether baseline and post-operative levels of Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and functional common variants of the Interleukin-6 (IL6) gene are associated with post-operative outcome following coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Caucasian patients undergoing first-time elective CABG were studied. IL-6 levels were measured pre-, 6h and 24h following surgery and genotypes for IL6 gene variants -174G>C and -572G>C were obtained. Clinical data was collected daily until patient discharge. Patient outcome was categorised as with (ICUC, n=177) and without (NICUC, n=189) a post-operative complication during the ICU period and with (POC, n=215) and without (NC, n=151) a post-operative complication during hospitalisation. IL-6 levels pre- and at 24h were greater in POC and ICUC than NC and NICUC, respectively. Pre- IL-6 levels independently predicted (for 1 standard deviation increase in log IL-6) POC (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.1-1.7, p=0.008) and ICUC (OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.0-1.6, p=0.02) outcomes. Overall, the IL6-572G>C had an effect over time on IL-6 levels (p=0.04) and on IL-6 levels in NC (P=0.008) and NICUC (p=0.006). However, no associations were found with the IL6 -572G>C or -174G>C variants on IL-6 levels at individual time-points or by outcome group. Thus, in conclusion, elevated pre-operative IL-6 levels, but not IL6 gene variants predict poor patient outcome following CABG.