For femoro-popliteal arteriosclerosis the autologous saphenous vein graft implanted in reverse has evolved as the standard procedure, but the impact of postoperative anticoagulant treatment upon patient survival in particular remains uncertain. Patients undergoing elective surgery during the years 1970–86 (n = 668) were analysed using Kaplan-Meier estimates. This demonstrated that the preoperative status of the patient exerted a significant influence on the probability of survival (P <0.0001 Mantel). Anticoagulants started postoperatively significantly prolonged the life of the patients (P <0.0001). Of the varous risk factors the patient's age had the most important influence (P <0.0001), whereas the presence or absence of diabetes mellitus (P <0.064) and the duration of the operation (P <0.407), were not significant. Using the proportional hazards regression model to test the validity of a prognostic factor, while other variables were checked, we found preoperative clinical status (P <0.0001), the patient's age (P <0.0001) and anticoagulant treatment (P <0.0001) to be of statistical importance.