Aims: Myocardial infarction networks have been shown to improve guideline adherent therapy and outcomes in patients presenting with acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Our objective was to assess the short term cost effectiveness of a network structure. Methods and results: Outcome data and reimbursement data for the index hospital stay were gathered in consecutive patients with acute STEMI (n=536) admitted to any of the hospitals in a 350.000 inhabitant rural network area during the years 2002 (n=185), 2005 (n=163) and 2008 (n=188). Network structure was established between 2002 and 2005 aiming for identical treatment of all acute STEMI patients during 24 h/7d a week with primary angioplasty. Patient baseline characteristics in the different years were quite comparable. From 2002 to 2005 regional hospital mortality in STEMI patients decreased from 16% to 9%. Lower mortality under network conditions was confirmed in 2008. Reimbursement data of different years were standardized to exclude effects not induced by the network. The mean initial costs per saved live during the index stay were 7727 with a 95%-confidence interval of -3.500 to 36.700 (referenced to the German reimbursement in 2005). Conclusion: The short term cost effectiveness of a myocardial infarction network organisation is within well accepted boundaries under conditions of the German reimbursement system.