Objective A ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm (RAAA) is associated with a high mortality rate. If cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is required before surgical repair, mortality rates are said to approach 100%. The aim of this multicenter, retrospective study was to study outcome in RAAA patients who required CPR before a surgical (endovascular or open) repair (CPR group). RAAA patients who did not need CPR served as controls (non-CPR group). Methods Over a 5-year time period, demographic and clinical characteristics and specifics of preoperative CPR if necessary were studied in all patients who were treated for a RAAA in three large, nonacademic hospitals. Results A total of 199 consecutive RAAA patients were available for analysis; 176 patients were surgically treated. Thirteen of these 176 patients (7.4%) needed CPR, and 163 (92.6%) did not. A 38.5% (5 of 13) survival rate was observed in the CPR group. Thirty-day mortality was almost three times greater in the CPR group compared with the non-CPR group (61.5% vs 22.7%; P =.005). Both CPR patients who received endovascular aortic repair survived. In contrast, survival in 11 CPR patients who underwent open RAAA repair was 27% (3 of 11; P =.128). A trend for higher Hardman index was found in patients who received CPR compared with patients who did not receive CPR (P =.052). The 30-day mortality in patients with a 0, 1, 2, or 3 Hardman index was 16.1%, 31.0%, 37.9%, and 33.3%, respectively (P =.093). Conclusions An RAAA that requires preoperative CPR is not necessarily a lethal combination. Patient selection must be tailored before surgery is denied.