A series of 480 patients who were alive upon admission following an aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) is reported. These patients represented 40% of the total Swedish incidence during a 3-year period. The three neurosurgical referral centres covering this population had a similar policy of early diagnosis and acute state surgery in all patients considered of having a potential to survive without permanent disabling cerebral malfunction. At 2-year follow up 45% showed a good neurological recovery, the morbidity was 25% and the mortality was 30%. Some more lives might have been saved with an improved ultra-early referral system since there were 21 initially good-to-fair risk patients (4% of the total SAH population) who rebled fatally before surgery and within 48 h. For comparison, in the Kingdom of Denmark, with a general policy of delayed operation, out of 1076 patients who were alive upon admission, 27.5% made a good recovery, while the morbidity was 27%, and the mortality was 45.5%.