A meta-analysis was performed to summarize the impact of methicillin-resistance on mortality in Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia. A search of the MEDLINE database for studies published during the period of 1 January 1980 through 31 December 2000 and a bibliographic review identified English-language studies of S. aureus bacteremia. Studies were included if they contained the numbers of and mortality rates for patients with methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) bacteremia. Data were extracted on demographic characteristics of the patients, adjustment for severity and comorbid illness, source of bacteremia, and crude and adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for in-hospital mortality. When the results were pooled with a random-effects model, a significant increase in mortality associated with MRSA bacteremia was evident (OR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.54-2.42; P<.001); significant heterogeneity was present. We explored the reasons for heterogeneity by means of subgroup analyses. MRSA bacteremia is associated with significantly higher mortality rate than is MSSA bacteremia.