We evaluated cognitive outcome in a group of 37 patients who had undergone surgery for rupture and repair of a single intracranial aneurysm at least 6 months previously. We compared outcome--assessed by tests of intelligence, attention, executive functions sensitive to frontal lobe lesions, memory, neglect, and mood, as well as by a specially devised questionnaire--between a group of 20 patients who had aneurysms of the anterior communicating artery and 17 patients who had aneurysms located on other branches of the internal carotid artery. There were no differences in cognitive outcome between patients with anterior communicating artery aneurysms and those with aneurysms on other branches of the internal carotid artery. The patient group as a whole, however, showed impairment in executive functions and some aspects of memory in comparison with normative data. Overall, 65% of the patients were impaired in at least one cognitive domain, with 19% showing executive impairments alone, 14% showing memory impairments alone, and 32% showing deficits in both domains. Cognitive outcome was most strongly predicted by postoperative neurologic events, although clipping of an anterior cerebral artery was associated with a higher impairment rating on a symptom profile completed by patients' relatives, and although preoperative rebleeding of aneurysms predicted impairment of executive function.