Operative survival is as high as 96% for elective abdominal aortic aneursym (AAA) repair but as low as 10% for emergency repair. Our primary aim was to compare elective AAA repair in octogenarians with nonoperative management. Our secondary aim was to compare octogenarians with their younger counterparts.From 1998 to 2003, 180 patients with AAA were treated operatively or nonoperatively. Factors determining treatment included American Society of Anesthesiologists grade ?: 4, inoperable malignancy New York Heart Association class III, forced expiratory volume in 1 second 6.0 mg/dL, and patient and family choice. A parallel-group observational study was performed to assess age and treatment effects on outcome.Seventy (39%) patients were repaired electively, 68 (38%) were managed nonoperatively, and 42 (23%) underwent emergency repair. Fifty-nine (33%) were octogenarians.The octogenarian 5-year survival rate was 20% following emergency repair, 42% if treated nonoperatively, and 83% following elective repair. Younger cohort rates were 55% (emergency), 44% (nonoperative), and 76% (elective).The octogenarian mean expansion rate was 0.26 cm/yr in those treated nonoperatively and 1.04 cm/yr in confirmed rupture. Rupture rate was related to expansion rate (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.06-0.59, r =.35, p =.01). The rates in the younger subgroup were 0.32 cm/yr and 1.14 cm/yr (95% CI -0.021-0.672}, r =.37, p =.03).The octogenarian survival rate was highest following elective repair. Rupture was closely correlated with aneurysm expansion. Screening should reduce the incidence of octogenarian rupture of AAA and identify those patients most suitable for nonoperative management.