Background The outcome of patients with ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm (rAAA) varies by country. Study of practice differences might allow the formulation of pathways to improve care. Methods We compared data from the Hospital Episode Statistics for England and the Nationwide Inpatient Sample for the USA for patients admitted to hospital with rAAA from 2005 to 2010. Primary outcomes were in-hospital mortality, mortality after intervention, and decision to follow non-corrective treatment. In-hospital mortality and the rate of non-corrective treatment were analysed by binary logistic regression for each health-care system, after adjustment for age, sex, year, and Charlson comorbidity index. Findings The study included 11 799 patients with rAAA in England and 23 838 patients with rAAA in the USA. In-hospital mortality was lower in the USA than in England (53·05% [95% CI 51·26–54·85] vs 65·90%; p<0·0001). Intervention (open or endovascular repair) was offered to a greater proportion of cases in the USA than in England (19 174 [80·43%] vs 6897 [58·45%]; p<0·0001) and endovascular repair was more common in the USA than in England (4003 [20·88%] vs 589 [8·54%]; p<0·0001). Postintervention mortality was similar in both countries (41·77% for England and 41·65% for USA). These observations persisted in age-matched and sex-matched comparisons. In both countries, reduced mortality was associated with increased use of endovascular repair, increased hospital caseload (volume) for rAAA, high hospital bed capacity, hospitals with teaching status, and admission on a weekday. Interpretation In-hospital survival from rAAA, intervention rates, and uptake of endovascular repair are lower in England than in the USA. In England and the USA, the lowest mortality for rAAA was seen in teaching hospitals with larger bed capacities and doing a greater proportion of cases with endovascular repair. These common factors suggest strategies for improving outcomes for patients with rAAA. Funding None.