All major amputations of the lower limb due to occlusive arterial disease were studied prospectively and consecutively during one year in the 5 hospitals in Malmöhus county, Sweden. The patients were followed for 6 months after the primary amputation of which 136 were through the tibia, 6 through the knee and 35 through the femur. One hundred and seventy-seven patients (92 men and 85 women) were included; 49% were 80 years or older and 40% were diabetic. At 6 months, 85 of the surviving 109 patients had healed stumps, 10 were not healed and 14 had been revised or reamputated. Half the survivors used a prosthesis daily. There was no significant difference in healing related to sex, age, diabetes or the level of amputation, but diabetics were more often bilateral amputees. The mortality at 6 months was 38% and at 4 years 72%.