The ideal mathematical model for predicting survival for individual patients with primary biliary cirrhosis should be based on a small number of inexpensive, noninvasive measurements that are universally available. Such a model would be useful in medical management by aiding in the selection of patients for and timing of orthotopic liver transplantation. This paper describes the development, testing and use of a mathematical model for predicting survival. The Cox regression method and comprehensive data from 312 Mayo Clinic patients with primary biliary cirrhosis were used to derive a model based on patient's age, total serum bilirubin and serum albumin concentrations, prothrombin time and severity of edema. When cross-validated on an independent set of 106 Mayo Clinic primary biliary cirrhosis patients, the model predicted survival accurately. Our model was found to be comparable in quality to two other primary biliary cirrhosis survival models reported in the literature and to have the advantage of not requiring liver biopsy.