The aim of the study was to evaluate the usefulness of quantitative ultrasound (QUS) measurement of the proximal phalanges of the hand in patients with end-stage renal failure (ESRF) treated with dialysis, and to compare results of this method with those from dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) of hands and forearms (shaft and ultradistal site). Forty-one men aged 48.1 +/- 11.7 years and 31 women aged 43.1 +/- 12.3 years were examined. Mean QUS values of the hands in men and women with ESRF were significantly lower than the values of the healthy control group. There was a significant positive correlation between QUS and DXA of fingers, hands and also forearms, more pronounced in the shaft than in the ultradistal site. There was no significant difference in the measurements of extremities with or without a fistula. We conclude that QUS measurements are decreased in patients with ESRF treated with dialysis, and they correlate with DXA results. The simplicity of QUS makes it a valuable method in everyday practice. The clinical significance of the QUS results in these patients with ESRF treated with dialysis needs further investigation.