Bypass surgery notwithstanding, heart patients could continue to suffer chest pain even a year later.
The journal Archives of Internal Medicine reported some suffered angina every day.
Those most likely to have chest pain were younger men who had undergone heart bypass operations, or men who smoked or had depressive symptoms, researchers with the Colorado University found.
These links might help doctors monitor "at risk" patients.
Chest pain, or angina, is a common symptom of heart disease, and doctors expect some heart attack patients to continue to have it, regardless of efforts to treat their underlying disease.
Scientists at the Denver's Colorado University, and the city's Veteran's Affairs Medical Center, looked at the progress of 1,957 patients, who filled in questionnaires a year after their heart attack.
In all, 19.9% of the patients said they still had angina pain one year after their attack, and although this was once a week or less for most, 1.2% of them had daily pain.
A spokesman for the British Heart Foundation told the BBC: "This study helps us to understand what factors may cause people to experience chest pains one year after heart attack.
"Identification of these factors - for example smoking or depression - can help health professionals recognise people who may be at risk of developing this problem.
"Targeted services for these people - such as helping them quit smoking - may help to improve the quality of life and health of heart patients by alleviating or preventing angina".