To determine the prevalence and severity of carotid artery lesions and which risk factors might be responsible for atherosclerosis in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients, we tested for carotid atherosclerosis (CA) by ultrasonography and compared the CA prevalence with well-known or suspected atherosclerotic risk factors in 226 hemodialysis (HD) patients and 2410 healthy residents of Japan. The CA prevalence was higher in the HD patients than in the healthy residents. Univariate analysis showed that HD patients with CA had a higher frequency of diabetes mellitus and left ventricular hypertrophy, and were significantly older, had significantly higher systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure, and lower albumin levels than those without. Multivariate analysis showed that age, pulse pressure, phosphorus, duration of HD, and diabetes mellitus were independent, significant predictors for CA in the HD patients. Neither Chlamydia pneumoniae seropositivity nor elevated homocysteine level was independently, significantly associated with CA. Our results suggest that HD patients had more advanced CA than the healthy residents. CA in the HD patients may be associated not only with several conventional risk factors but also with non-conventional risk factors such as phosphorus and the HD procedure itself.