The purpose of this study was to identify criteria contributing to successful long-term prosthetic use in patients with an amputation secondary to vascular disease. All elderly patients with a unilateral below-knee amputation or an above-knee amputation, secondary to vascular disease, seen in our clinic between 1977 and 1982 were included in this telephone survey. Of those contacted, 37 of 38 below-knee amputees (BKAs) and 7 of 18 above-knee amputees (AKAs) still wore their prostheses at least part of every day (success). We used a two-tailed chi-square to compare the success of the BKAs with the success of the AKAs. The BKAs were successful more often (χ2 = 24.81, df = 1, p < .001). All AKAs also were characterized according to age, time from prescription, obesity, ambulatory status, strength, range of motion, sex, general compliance, and medical problems after prosthetic prescription. Of these criteria, only compliance and medical problems after prescription showed a significant difference between successful and nonsuccessful long-term AKA prosthetic users (χ2 = 5.76, df = 1, p < .05 for each criterion). As the demands of quality assurance and diagnostic related groupings increase, these results can assist the physical therapy clinician in setting realistic goals for the geriatric amputee and help predict if the patient will be a successful prosthetic user.