Survivorship is a trait characterized by endurance and virility in the face of hardship. It is largely considered a psychosocial attribute developed during fatal conditions, rather than a biological trait for robustness in the context of complex, age-dependent diseases like coronary artery disease (CAD). The purpose of this paper is to present the novel phenotype, survivorship in CAD as an observed survival advantage concurrent with clinically significant CAD. We present a model for characterizing survivorship in CAD and its relationships with overlapping time- and clinically-related phenotypes. We offer an optimal measurement interval for investigating survivorship in CAD. We hypothesize genetic contributions to this construct and review the literature for evidence of genetic contribution to overlapping phenotypes in support of our hypothesis. We also present preliminary evidence of genetic effects on survival in people with clinically significant CAD from a primary case-control study of symptomatic coronary disease. Identifying gene variants that confer improved survival in the context of clinically appreciable CAD may improve our understanding of cardioprotective mechanisms acting at the gene level and potentially impact patients clinically in the future. Further, characterizing other survival-variant genetic effects may improve signal-to-noise ratio in detecting gene associations for CAD.