Over a 3-year period, 251 individuals in a population of 1.46 million were known to have suffered an aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Forty-three individuals (17%) were either found dead or were dead on arrival at a hospital or forensic department. Forty-nine patients (20%) were at no stage in their clinical course considered to be surgical candidates. Six patients (2% of the total series) were initially in good condition, but subsequently deteriorated during the acute phase and were not treated surgically. Nineteen poor-risk patients (8% of the total series) underwent emergency surgery because of a life-threatening intracerebral hematoma; 105 patients (42% of the total series or 69% of the surgically treated patients) were operated on at the acute stage, and 29 patients (11% of the total series or 19% of the surgically treated patients) underwent late surgery. Of the total series, 107 patients (42%) recovered without neurological deficits; the overall morbidity rate was 19%, and the mortality rate was 39%. Of 99 Grade I to III patients who were operated on at the acute stage, 76% recovered without neurological deficits, and 4% died. It is concluded that the overall outcome in aneurysmal SAH remains poor, mainly because of the large group of patients who are permanently devastated by their initial bleed.