Pretransplant transfusions were repeatedly shown to be associated with improved graft survival in the "pre-cyclosporine era," and have recently been shown to be beneficial in patients on modern immuno-suppressive regimes. In an attempt to improve this transfusion effect and minimize the potential development of cytotoxic antibodies, we have given these transfusions, with concomitant cyclosporine cover, prior to transplantation. Ninety-two renal transplantations were performed in 91 children in the study group (group 1) and all received pretransplant transfusions with cyclosporine cover. Results were compared with a preceding group of 102 children (104 transplantations) who had received pretransplant transfusions without cyclosporine cover (group 2). There were 70 cadaver and 22 living-related donor (LRD) transplants in group 1, and 88 cadaver and 16 LRD transplants in group 2. Graft survival rates (1- and 5-year) for cadaver transplantation were 96% and 90% in group 1 compared with 78% and 64% in group 2 (P = 0.001). For LRD transplantation, these figures were 95% and 87% in group 1 and 81% and 69% in group 2. There was no difference between the two groups in terms of age at transplantation, sex, donor age, HLA-A, -B, -DR mismatches, or cold and warm ischemia times. All cadaver graft recipients received quadruple, sequential immunosuppression post transplant. However, 9 patients in group 1 were changed to tacrolimus for recurrent rejection episodes. No patient developed persistent lymphocytotoxic antibodies post transfusion or side effects of cyclosporine. Cyclosporine can be safely given with whole blood prior to transplantation with no adverse effect and no sensitization. Graft survival was significantly improved in this group of patients and graft loss due to rejection was exceptional. This effect should be further evaluated in prospective studies.