Hip disarticulation, especially in patients with peripheral vascular disease, has been associated with high morbidity and mortality rates. This report describes patient characteristics that influence the clinical outcome of hip disarticulation. The medical records of all patients undergoing hip disarticulation from 1966 to 1989 were reviewed for surgical indication, perioperative wound complications, and postoperative deaths. Fifty-three patients underwent hip disarticulation for limb ischemia (10), infection (12), infection and ischemia (14), or tumor (17). The overall incidence of wound complications was 60%, and no significant differences were found among the groups. Prior above-knee amputation and urgent/emergent operations were significantly associated with increased wound complications (p less than 0.05). The overall mortality rate was 21%, ranging from 0% (tumor) to 50% (ischemia) and differed significantly among the groups (p less than 0.02). Mortality was significantly associated with urgent/emergent operations (p less than 0.01). Age, diabetes mellitus, and previous inflow procedures did not influence mortality rates. The presence of limb ischemia influenced mortality rates to a greater extent than did infection, and a history of cardiac disease was statistically predictive of death. Wound complications frequently accompanied hip disarticulation, regardless of operative indication, and were significantly increased by urgent/emergent operations and prior above-knee amputation. Hip disarticulation can be performed with low mortality rates in selected patients. Both limb ischemia and infection substantially increase operative mortality rates.