Atherosclerotic renovascular disease (ARVD) continues to challenge the clinician as we enter the third millenium. ARVD frequently complicates patients with other vascular pathological states, and it is an increasingly common cause of end-stage renal failure. Although renovascular interventional procedures are now widely available and are of benefit to some patients with ARVD, a large proportion still progress to dialysis. Recent epidemiological investigations have emphasized the relationship between ARVD and other vascular diseases, and these are notable in patients with coronary artery disease and/or cardiac failure. Increased awareness of the possible coexistence of ARVD in patients with these latter conditions may allow earlier diagnosis and a minimization of complications (eg, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor-related uremia or flash pulmonary edema). Contemporary studies also highlight the importance of intrarenal vascular and parenchymal injury in the cause of chronic renal failure in many patients with ARVD. Severe renal structural damage often coexists with proximal renal arterial narrowing, and this can explain the variability of renal functional outcomes known to accompany revascularization procedures. More appropriate selection of those patients likely to benefit from renovascular revascularization is now required. Large-scale trials that will identify the optimal approach to improving renal functional and survival outcomes in this high-risk group of patients are now long overdue.