To investigate whether the premature death of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was associated with intramuscular (im) gold treatment or side effects due to gold, a sample of 573 adult patients with RA treated at hospital for the first time during 1961-66 was retrospectively studied for the duration and side effects of im gold treatment as well as death and causes of death. By 1989 a total of 251 patients had died. Gold treatment was not associated with premature death. On the contrary, longterm gold treatment was associated with a high survival rate. Secondary amyloidosis was diagnosed in 28 out of 63 patients, who had gold associated renal disease and who died.