This study examined the relationship between gender and in-hospital mortality using data from patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery (CABS) in the province of Ontario. All patients who underwent CABS between April 1, 1991 and March 31, 1992 at the 9 cardiac surgery institutions were included for study (n = 5,175). The unadjusted in-hospital mortality rate was 3.3% and was higher among females (5.3%) than males (2.8%). Using logistic regression analysis to adjust for several predictors of in-hospital mortality the odds ratio estimate (OR) for female sex was 1.55 and was statistically significant (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.09 to 2.20). Women experienced rates of in-hospital mortality that are 1.6 times greater than males following bypass surgery after case-mix adjustment for age, anatomical disease severity, anginal class, and comorbid conditions. Severe unstable angina had the greatest potential contribution to in-hospital mortality (OR = 7.51, 95% CI = 3.71-15.23) and was more prevalent in women, indicating that excess mortality may be due to delayed diagnosis in women.