During the period 1983-1993 altogether 403 patients were operated on for abdominal aortic aneurysm. The median age was 69.5 years. 246 were operated on electively whereas 58 had symptoms without rupture and 99 had ruptured aneurysm. The 30 day mortality in the three groups was 4.1, 12.0 and 28.3% respectively. The mortality in hospital was 4.5, 12.0 and 31.3% in the three groups respectively. Coronary artery disease dominated as cause of death in the group as a whole, whereas irreversible shock and complications secondary to haemorrhage were common in the group with ruptured aneurysm. There were no graft infections in this series, and only one superficial infection which healed without complications. Investigation and treatment of coronary artery disease might perhaps decrease the mortality rate in the elective group. These results form a basis against which the results of endovascular treatment should be compared.