Cardiovascular disease is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality after renal transplantation. Pretransplant screening in a subset of these patients for occult coronary artery disease (CAD) may improve outcome. The objective of this study was to examine the outcome of 600 patients after renal transplantation for end-stage renal disease. Prospective outcome data were collected on 600 consecutive patients who had renal transplantation between 1996 and 1998 at our institution at 42 +/- 12 months after surgery. Stress single-photon emission computed tomographic (SPECT) myocardial perfusion imaging was performed in 174 patients before surgery, 136 (78%) of whom had diabetes mellitus. There were a total of 59 events: 17 cardiac deaths, 14 nonfatal myocardial infarctions, and 28 noncardiac deaths. There were 12 cardiac events and 11 noncardiac deaths among those who had SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging. In a multivariate analysis that included important risk factors, age (p = 0.03 and 0.003, respectively) and diabetes (p = 0.02 and 0.005, respectively) were the predictors of total events and cardiac events in patients who did not undergo stress SPECT perfusion imaging. In the subgroup who had stress perfusion imaging, an abnormal perfusion SPECT study was the only predictor of cardiac events (p = 0.006). The 42-month cardiac event-free survival rate was 97% in patients with normal SPECT images and 85% in patients with abnormal SPECT images (RR 5.04, 95% confidence interval 1.4 to 17.6, p = 0.006). Thus, there is a 2.8% event rate per year after renal transplantation, and approximately 50% of these events are noncardiac. In high-risk patients (most of whom had diabetes) with preoperative stress perfusion imaging, those with normal images had significantly lower cardiac events than those with abnormal images. These results have important implications in patient screening and postoperative management.