✓ The management results in 244 patients admitted to one institution within 3 days of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) from January, 1979, to December, 1985, were analyzed with respect to the timing of surgical intervention. Twenty-six patients died prior to surgery. Patients surviving to surgery were divided into three groups according to the interval between preadmission SAH and surgery: 0 to 3 days (85 cases), 4 to 9 days (83 cases), and 10 or more days (50 cases). Of the patients who were categorized neurologically into Botterell Grades 1 and 2 (Hunt and Hess Grades I to III) on admission, 87% had an excellent or good result on follow-up evaluation. Patients undergoing surgery 0 to 3 days after SAH had a statistically significant increase in the incidence of postoperative ischemic symptoms (p < 0.005), which was balanced by similar complications preoperatively in the 10-day post-SAH surgical group. Most rebleeds occurred before admission but delaying surgery did increase the risk of rebleeding in the hospital (p < 0.0005). Management morbidity and mortality occurred primarily as a direct result of a severe initial hemorrhage; thus, the measured benefits of early surgery were less than might have been predicted.