Purpose: Operation for ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm is generally still associated with a high mortality rate. A review of our experience over a 9-year period was undertaken to identify factors present on admission associated with 30-day operative mortality. Methods: A retrospective analysis of 154 patients with ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm submitted for operation in a university teaching hospital between January 1985 and December 1993 was undertaken. Results: The hospital mortality rate was 39%. Logistic regression identified a set of five independent preoperative factors associated with mortality: age (>76 years), creatinine level (>0.19 mmol/L), loss of consciousness after arrival, Hb (<9 g%), and electrocardiographic ischemia. In the 52 patients with a single risk factor present, the mortality rate was 37%, with two factors (32 patients) it was 72%, with three or more factors (8 patients), it was 100%, and no patient had all five risk factors. A 16% mortality rate was found in the 62 patients with no risk factors. Conclusion: These risk factors can be easily determined on admission and may be used to help improve patient selection for surgical intervention. The current operative mortality rate for ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm remains high, and in some cases health care resources are used in a nonproductive fashion. Restricted patient selection and allocation of scarce resources will bring advantages to both the patient and the community.