This is a prospective cohort comparison study aiming to determine the mortality of patients with peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD) and identify the risk factors affecting their survival. Data regarding demographic and biochemical risk factors, and lower limb disease severity classified by vascular laboratory criteria were collected prospectively from 665 consecutive patients presenting with symptoms of peripheral arterial occlusive disease. The effect of patient and disease risk factors on survival was analyzed by the life-table method and independent significant variables examined by a multivariate Cox regression model. The cumulative survival for all patients at 1, 3, and 5 years were 86.1, 71.2, and 55.8%, respectively, with a median survival of 72.2 months. Female sex, age, smoking, heart disease, renal disease, respiratory disease, stroke, critical ischemia, lowest anklebrachial index, no vascular reconstruction, and major amputation were associated with higher mortality. Lipid and biochemical variables were not significant determinants. Using multivariate Cox regression, age (>70), disease severity, anklebrachial index (<0.5), no vascular reconstruction, diabetes mellitus, and renal and cardiorespiratory diseases were identified as independent risk factors affecting patient survival. The survival of patients with PAOD is poor compared with the general population. Significant patient-related variables were largely coexisting diseases and advanced age, whereas the other risk factors for atherosclerosis are less influential. Disease severity may bear a direct relationship to mortality, and patients with critical ischemia have the worst prognosis. Early disease detection and timely vascular reconstruction may lead to an improvement in overall survival.