In this paper we examine the effects on life expectancy of elimination of 4 major causes of death. Methodologically, we compare the results of cause elimination under assumptions of pattern of failure elimination and assumptions of underlying cause elimination in a modified multiple-decrement life table framework for the segment of the population impacted. The 4 diseases selected for analysis are cancer, ischaemic heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, major killers among the elderly population. The degree to which life expectancy changes occur within the population from elimination of a given cause if a function of 3 factors: 1) distribution of age at death by cause for persons who die of that cause, 2) the gain in person years lived for those 'saved' from dying from that cause which has been eliminated, and 3) the proportion of all deaths which are due to the specific cause which is eliminated. Mortality data from the 1969 U.S. multiple cause mortality tapes from NCHS are analysed to determine the impact of life expectancy for males and females of both races when one of these 4 specific causes of death is eliminated.