We have studied the mortality after total hip replacement (THR) of 39,543 patients, having a mean age of 69 years, who were reported to the Norwegian Arthroplasty Register. The median follow-up time was 5.2 (0-10.4) years. 323 of 6201 deaths occurred during the first 60 postoperative days. The patient mortality was compared with the mortality in the Norwegian population, using standardized mortality ratios (SMR). The SMRs were compared and adjusted for age, gender, and other possible confounders in a Cox regression model incorporating the population mortality. We observed a lower mortality in patients with THR than in the Norwegian population (8-year patient mortality was 25%, versus 30% in the corresponding Norwegian population. SMR = 0.81). There was an increased standardized mortality ratio in patients less than 50 years (SMR = 2.50), patients 50-59 years (SMR = 1.16), patients with THR due to rheumatoid arthritis (SMR = 1.48), and patients with femoral neck fracture (SMR = 1.11). The SMR decreased with increasing age at the time of THR surgery. After revision surgery, the SMR was similar to that after the first primary operation, whereas a second primary operation in the opposite hip was associated with a further reduction in the SMR (SMR = 0.65). During the first 60 postoperative days, all patient categories had a higher mortality than the general population (0.8% mortality, SMR = 1.39).