Congestive heart failure (CHF) is the leading cause of hospitalization in the elderly, and these patients are at high risk for subsequent hospitalization. Whether gender affects the risk of rehospitalization in patients who have CHF is less well understood. We studied a random sample of 1,700 adults who had been hospitalized with CHF (from July 1, 1999 to June 30, 2000) and identified all readmissions through June 30, 2001. We used proportional hazards regression to evaluate whether gender affects the risk of all-cause and CHF-specific rehospitalization, after adjusting for differences in demographic characteristics, health-related behaviors, co-morbid conditions, left ventricular systolic function status, and use of CHF therapies. Among 1,591 adults who had confirmed CHF, 752 were women (47.3%). Women were older than men (73 vs 71 years, p <0.001) and more likely to have preserved systolic function (55.3% vs 40.9%, p <0.001), hypertension (83.1% vs 75.2%, p <0.001), and prior renal insufficiency (46.8% vs 34.6%, p <0.001). No significant differences existed between women and men with respect to crude rates of any readmission (144.7 vs 134.6 per 100 person-years, p = 0.36) or CHF-specific readmission (39.9 vs 37.4 per 100 person-years, p = 0.65). After adjusting for potential confounders, there was no significant difference between women and men with respect to risk of any readmission (adjusted hazard ratio 0.88, 95% confidence interval 0.76 to 1.02) or readmission for CHF (adjusted hazard ratio 0.89, 95% confidence interval 0.71 to 1.11). Among a contemporary, diverse population of patients who had CHF, rates of readmission overall and for CHF remained high, but gender was not independently associated with a differential risk of readmission.