Background: The objective of the study is to compare patient characteristics and outcome after myocardial infarction (MI) between two geographically and socially different communities. Methods/Results: The study was designed as an ecological comparison between a 1-year hospital registry of consecutive MIs in Seattle (1,400,000 inhabitants and a predominantly urban and suburban distribution) and nine hospitals in Giroma (500,000 inhabitants in a predominantly rural distribution). Hospitalization rates for MI are higher in Seattle (standardized rates of 2.5/1000 for men and 0.8/1000 for women) than in Girona (1.5/1000 for men and 0.2/1000 for women). In both registries men under age 60 accounted for 45.5% of cases. Women accounted for 25% of all MI episodes in Seattle and for only 16% in Giromi. Treatment with thrombolytic and beta-blocking drugs was twice as common in Seattle hospitals as in Girona. Hospital mortality in tertiary care hospitals was similar in both registries, but mortality in local hospitals (having no coronary care unit) in Giroma was significantly higher than other hospital mortality rates for MI. Conclusions: The higher in-hospital mortality rate may in large part be explained by the absence of a coronary care unit. However, the dispersion of Girona's population and the lack of specific programs to provide emergent specialized care to possible MI patients may also contribute to the higher in-hospital mortality rate in Girona.