Background. Advances in perioperative care and immunosuppression have enabled clinicians to broaden the indications for organ transplantation. Advanced age is no longer considered a contraindication to transplantation at most centers. Although short-term studies of elderly liver transplant recipients have demonstrated that the incidence of complications and overall patient survival are similar to those of younger adults, transplant center-specific, long-term data are not available. Methods. From August of 1984 to September of 1997, 91 patients 60 years of age or older received primary liver transplants at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. This group of patients was compared with a group of younger adults (n=387) ranging in age from 18 to 59 years who received primary liver transplants during the same period. The most common indications for transplantation in both groups were Laennec's cirrhosis, hepatitis C, primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and cryptogenic cirrhosis. There was no difference in the preoperative severity of illness between the groups. Results. The length of hospitalization was the same for both groups, and there were no significant differences in the incidence of rejection, infection (surgical or opportunistic), repeat operation, readmission, or repeat transplantation between the groups. The only significant difference identified between the groups was long-term survival. Five-year patient survival was 52% in the older group and 75% in the younger group (P<0.05). Ten-year patient survived was 35% in the older group and 60% in the younger group (P<6.65). The most common cause of late mortality in elderly liver recipients was malignancy (35.0%), whereas most of the young adult deaths were the result of infectious complications (24.2%). Conclusion. Although older recipients at this center did as well as younger recipients in the early years after liver transplantation, long-term survival results were not as encouraging.