BACKGROUND AND AIMS The purpose of this study was to assess the quality of life (QoL) of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) amputees. PATIENTS AND METHODS Fifty-nine PAD patients (mean age 75.2, SD 10.7, range 39-96, 47% men) who had undergone their first major lower leg amputation (LEA) on average 2.7 years earlier (in 1998-2002) were interviewed, and 118 age- and gender-matched controls completed a postal questionnaire. Outcomes were assessed with 15D Health-Related QoL instrument, Rand-36 Physical Functioning- and General Health subscales, Geriatric Depression Scale, 6-item Brief Social Support Questionnaire, and Self-reported Life Satisfaction score. RESULTS The amputees had more diseases than their controls. HRQoL was lower among amputees than among controls. Half the amputees lived in institutional care, 25% had a Mini-Mental Examination score <18, and 22% had unilateral belowknee amputations only. The amputees had a similar self-assessed sense of their general state of health, life satisfaction and perceived social support as controls. Amputees who were institutionalized and those who did not use prostheses had more symptoms of depression than those who lived at home or used prostheses. CONCLUSION Home-dwelling amputees had a relatively good QoL, whereas institutionalization was associated with depressive symptoms. In rehabilitation programs, not only physical disability assessment but also QoL should be considered.