One hundred sixty-eight patients with primary systemic amyloidosis (AL) were identified. Median survival after diagnosis was 12 months and ranged from 4 months for patients presenting with congestive heart failure to 50 months for those presenting with peripheral neuropathy only. Utilizing the proportional-hazards model in a stepwise multivariate fashion to evaluate the simultaneous influence of putative risk factors as of diagnosis revealed that congestive heart failure, urine light chain, hepatomegaly, and multiple myeloma were the major factors adversely affecting survival during the first year after diagnosis. Serum creatinine, multiple myeloma, orthostatic hypotension, and monoclonal serum protein were the most important variables adversely affecting survival for patients surviving 1 year. These models were used to categorize patients according to the variables in the models into low-, moderate-, and high-risk groups for the first year after diagnosis and separately for subsequent years. The influence of these variables on survival is important in stratification of patients randomized to prospective clinical trials.