Background: Treatment of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is changing, and differences in medical practice are observed within and between countries on the basis of local practice patterns and available technology. These differing approaches provide an opportunity to evaluate medical practice and outcomes at the population level. The primary aim of this study was to compare medical care in patients hospitalized with AMI in 2 large cities in Sweden and the United States. A secondary aim was to compare medical outcomes. Methods: All resident patients (age range, 30-74 years) hospitalized with AMI in Götebarg, Sweden (1995-1996), and a representative population-based sample of all patients with AMI in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn (1995). Results: Patients with AMI in Göteborg (GB) were older than patients in Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP), but fewer patients in GB had a prior history of cardiovascular disease. During the AMI admission, coronary angiography, percutaneous coronary angioplasty (PTCA), and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) were performed twice as frequently in MSP than in GB. Echocardiogram and exercise testing were more frequently performed in GB. During hospitalization, β-blockers were more frequently prescribed in GB, whereas calcium channel blockers, long- and short-acting nitrates, intravenous nitroglycerine, digitalis, aspirin, oral anticoagulants, heparin, and lidocaine were significantly more common in MSP. Thrombolysis, acute PTCA, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics were similar. Reinfarction was higher in men in GB (4% vs 1%, P <.009) and women in GB (3% vs 1%, P = not significant). On discharge, β-blockers and diuretics were prescribed significantly more often in GB, whereas calcium channel blockers, nitrates, and digitalis were prescribed more often in MSP. Aspirin and ACE inhibitors had similar usage rates. Despite these diagnostic and treatment contrasts, there were no differences in mortality rate at 30 days or after 3 years of follow-up after risk-adjusting for patient baseline differences. Conclusion: Comparing patients hospitalized with AMI in MSP and GB, we found marked differences in medical care, with invasive strategies more likely to be used in MSP. This may be the result of historical practice patterns, the healthcare system, and healthcare financing differences. Despite these differences, short- or long-term mortality rates were identical.