Abstract Background Acute stroke (AS) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) share major risk factors such as age, gender, and high blood pressure. The main objective of this study was to compare vascular risk factor profiles with in-hospital outcomes in AS and AMI patients. Methods We evaluated 486 consecutive patients who were admitted to Bjelovar General Hospital with diagnoses of AS (ischaemic stroke or intracerebral haemorrhage; N = 380) or AMI (N = 106) during a one year period. The frequency of risk factors and in-patient mortality rates were assessed in both groups. For statistical analysis we used t-tests and χ2 tests. Results AS patients were significantly older than AMI patients: the mean age for AS patients was 68.9 ± 9.1 years, and for AMI patients was 62.8 ± 11.7 years (p Conclusions We found that age at the time of presentation was a significant differentiating factor between patients with AS and AMI. The only exceptions were women, whose ages at the onset of AS and AMI were similar. In contrast, patients who died did not differ significantly in age. We observed significantly higher inpatient mortality for men (when adjusted for age) than for women with AS. The five-fold higher in-patient mortality rate in women than in men with AMI is most likely to have resulted from other factors related to treatment.