Background Most patients undergoing elective endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) are classified American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) 3. However, the severity of systemic disease among these patients can vary, resulting in markedly different levels of fitness. In this study, we explored the hypothesis that ASA 3 patients with good self-reported exercise tolerance have better survival after EVAR. Methods Data for EVAR patients classified ASA 3 were extracted retrospectively from a prospectively collected registry database. Patients were split into two groups according to fitness level, based on their self-reported ability to climb stairs or to walk briskly for 1 km. Patient survival for each group was assessed by Cox proportional hazards models. Results During follow-up of 392 patients for a mean of 1.9 years, there were 64 deaths (16.3%), 13.4% in the more physically able group and 21.6% in the less able group. Self-reported inability to walk or to climb stairs was associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality (hazard ratio, 3.55; P <.0001). Following risk adjustment for a number of possible confounding variables, fitness remained significant (hazard ratio, 3.03; P =.0011). Conclusions This study has shown that among ASA 3 patients, self-reported exercise capacity is an excellent means of predicting survival. Physicians should consider the physical fitness of their ASA 3 patients when discussing treatment options.