We assessed the in-hospital management and short- and long-term outcomes of two series of patients admitted for acute myocardial infarction, 5 years apart, in France. The most recent cohort was younger and with a less frequent history of cardiac diseases, but was more often diabetic and with anterior infarcts. Five-day mortality significantly improved from 7.7% to 6.1% (P < 0.03) and 1-year survival was also less in the most recent period (15% versus 19%, P < 0.01). Multivariate analyses showed that the period of inclusion (2000 versus 1995) was an independent predictor of both short- and long-term mortality. In analyses restricted to the patients who were alive by day 5, initial treatment with statins was associated with a 38% decrease in the risk of death at 1 year. Likewise, in patients with left ventricular ejection fraction < or = 35%, the early prescription of ACE inhibitors was associated with a 41% reduction in the risk of 1-year mortality. Thus, in the real world setting, a continued decline in 1-year mortality is observed in patients admitted to intensive care units for recent acute myocardial infarction. This goes along with a shift in reperfusion therapy towards a broader use of coronary angioplasty and with an increased use of the early prescription of recognised secondary prevention medications.