In a population of 141 very elderly subjects, there was a small but significant decline in BUN and creatinine at 3 years, which persisted at 6 years although partially attenuated. A similar pattern of falling BUN and creatinine was seen in the 31 subjects who began the study with mild azotemia. There was no significant change in the subjects' mean Body Mass Index during the 6-year period of observation. The azotemic subjects had a rate of death or dropout from the study similar to that of the entire cohort. Mean systolic blood pressure fell by 5.4 mm Hg (p < 0.05) and diastolic blood pressure by 2.1 mm Hg (p = NS) by 6 years. Users of diuretics or NSAID had a mean BUN and creatinine comparable to those not taking these medications. We conclude that BUN and serum creatinine do not necessarily increase with time in the old old, even in those with mild azotemia, hence, several determinations of these parameters may be needed to ensure accuracy. While renal function in the elderly probably does not improve with time, it may stabilize due to improvement in blood pressure. Use of diuretics and NSAID by functioning elderly individuals is not necessarily associated with worsening azotemia.