In migrant countries, ethnic origin may represent a complex of cultural, behavioral and possibly genetic differences. These have been shown to influence acute myocardial infarction (AMI) incidence. How ethnic origin may affect survival after AMI is unknown. Data from 5,692 patients included in the Secondary Prevention Reinfarction Israeli Nifedipine Trial (SPRINT) registry were analyzed. Patients were divided into eight different ethnic groups, according to birthplaces from five continents, representing major socio-economic and possibly some genetic variation. Mortality was analyzed after adjustment for baseline characteristics known to predict death from coronary artery disease (CAD) using Jews born in Israel as a reference. The odds ratio for in-hospital mortality was higher in women than in men, but unrelated to ethnic origin. The odds ratio for men ranged between 1.08 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.67-1.73) for Jews born in Eastern Europe and 1.84 (95% CI: 1.07-3.15) for counterparts born in the Middle East. The odds ratio for women ranged between 0.73 in Jews born in Central Europe (95% CI: 0.35-1.50) and 1.45 (95% CI: 0.76-3.15) for Jewish women born in the Balkan countries. Among 4,686 patients surviving the hospital phase, long-term mortality rates (mean follow-up 7.1 +/- 3.5 years) were 43.3% in men and 57.6% in women. Among 3,586 surviving men, the adjusted risk ratios for 10-year mortality varied between 0.92 (95% CI: 0.72-1.18) for men born in Romania and 1.49 (95% CI: 1.07-2.09) for Israeli born Arabs. The variation among men is within the limits of statistical error. However, among 1,100 surviving women, the risk ratio for 10-year mortality differed significantly, from as low as 1.43 (95% CI: 0.84-2.41) in Jewish women born in Central Europe to as high as 2.83 (95% CI: 1.67-4.79) in counterparts born in the Middle East. The latter observations were consistent with the mortality after 3 years. Thus, ethnic origin of Israelis marginally influenced the in-hospital mortality. The long-term prognosis varied significantly among women from different origins but not among men.