We retrospectively reviewed 45 hip arthroplasties which were performed over a period of 20 years in 38 patients with cirrhosis of the liver. There was a high perioperative 30-day complication rate (26.7%). Advanced cirrhosis was associated with a higher risk of complications (p = 0.004) as also was increased age, a high level of creatinine, a low level of albumin, a low platelet count, ascites, encephalopathy and an increased operative blood loss. The survival of the prosthesis at five years was 77.8% and infection was a major cause of failure. In view of the high rate of early complications and the limited longevity of the prosthesis, surgeons who perform hip arthroplasty on such patients should counsel them appropriately preoperatively.