Background. Patients with significant atherosclerotic stenosis involving the artery to a solitary functioning kidney present a clinical challenge. Methods. From August 1987 through August 1995, 35 of these patients (average age, 68.4 ± 6.9 years) were treated. Comorbid conditions included previous myocardial infarction in 23% of the patients, congestive heart failure (CHF) in 34%, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 20%, and diabetes in 20%. The average creatinine level of the patients was 2.5 ± 1.5 mg/dl. Indications for revascularization were hypertension in 86%, hypertensive crisis with CHF in 17%, and renal insufficiency in 69%. Procedures performed included 19 extraanatomic bypasses, 8 concomitant with infrarenal aortic reconstruction and 2 concomitant with thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair; 1 visceral segment endarterectomy; 1 renal artery endarterectomy with reimplantation; 1 superior mesenteric to renal artery bypass; 1 aortorenal bypass; and 2 percutaneous angioplasties with staged nephrectomies. Results. At discharged, 91% of patients had stable or improved renal function with an average creatinine level of 1.7 ± 0.8 mg/dl. Hypertension was cured or improved in 85%. Perioperative mortality was 6%, and major morbidity was 43%, including the need for permanent (9%) and temporary (9%) dialysis, respiratory insufficiency (18%), two early reoperations, six cardiac complications, one case of gastrointestinal bleeding, and one stroke. In the follow-up period (mean duration, 39.2 months), survival has been 73%, and no additional patients have required dialysis. Conclusions. Although significant perioperative morbidity exists in this high risk population, the long-term preservation of renal function and improvement in hypertension make solitary renal revascularization worthwhile.