Residual renal function, defined as the urinary clearance of urea and creatinine, is minimal in many patients treated with hemodialysis (HD) and tends to be ignored in most outcome studies involving HD patients. Recent studies showed that residual renal function, even at a low level, is influential in preventing mortality in the minority of patients with end-stage renal disease treated with peritoneal dialysis. This issue generally has not been examined in patients treated with HD. This prospective observational study of all 114 patients at a single community-based freestanding HD center is designed to examine the impact of residual renal function (defined as renal urea clearance and renal creatinine clearance derived from 24-hour urinary volumes) on mortality over a 2-year period. During that period, 50 deaths occurred in 114 patients. The presence of residual renal function was protective against mortality (odds ratio for death, 0.44; 95% confidence interval, 0.24 to 0.81; P = 0.008), even after adjustment for duration of dialysis treatment, age, smoking, presence of diabetes, presence of cardiovascular disease, serum albumin level, and urea reduction rate. In conclusion, the presence of residual renal function, even at a low level, is associated with a lower mortality risk in HD patients.