In a prospective study, cardiopulmonary resuscitation was attempted in 52 elderly patients (mean age 75.6 yr, range 64-91). Of 14 who were resuscitated initially, 5 died in the first week. Of the 9 still alive at one month (mean age 75.3, range 65-85), none seemed to have adverse effects, in terms of mental status or physical dependence, from the episode of cardiac arrest and resuscitation; 7 had left hospital. The nature of the cardiac dysrhythmia is a strong predictor of outcome. Age, sex, and time of arrest are not.