BACKGROUND: This study aimed to explore the value of the Glasgow Aneurysm Score in predicting the immediate and long-term outcome after elective open repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). METHODS: Some 403 patients underwent elective open repair of an infrarenal AAA and were classified retrospectively according to the criteria of the Glasgow Aneurysm Score (risk score = (age in years) + (7 for myocardial disease) + (10 for cerebrovascular disease) + (14 for renal disease)). RESULTS: Fourteen patients (3.5 per cent) died after operation, 23 (5.7 per cent) had a myocardial infarction and six (1.5 per cent) had a stroke. One hundred and nine patients (27.0 per cent) experienced severe postoperative complications. The Glasgow Aneurysm Score was predictive of postoperative death (area under the receiver-operator characteristic curve (AUC) 0.80, 95 per cent confidence interval (c.i.) 0.71 to 0.90), severe postoperative complications (AUC 0.67, 95 per cent c.i. 0.61 to 0.73), myocardial infarction (AUC 0.72, 95 per cent c.i. 0.62 to 0.82), myocardial infarction-related postoperative death (AUC 0.78, 95 per cent c.i. 0.63 to 0.94) and stroke (AUC 0.84, 95 per cent c.i. 0.74 to 0.95). Univariate analysis showed that this risk index was also predictive of long-term survival. CONCLUSION: The Glasgow Aneurysm Score is a good predictor of outcome after elective open repair of AAA. Its simplicity and accuracy make it useful for preoperative risk stratification.