A disease-specific questionnaire was developed for patients receiving chronic hemodialysis by interviewing patients to determine which aspects of their quality of life were adversely affected by their disease. The final questionnaire contained 26 questions in five dimensions (physical symptoms, fatigue, depression, relationships with others, frustration). The questionnaire demonstrated construct validity when compared with the Sickness Impact Profile, time trade-off technique and an exercise stress test. It was reproducible in stable, placebo-treated patients (correlation coefficient 0.85-0.98 for the 5 dimensions). It was more responsive than other measures in detecting an improvement with erythropoietin therapy in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. This questionnaire should be useful for the assessment of the effect of various interventions upon the quality of life of hemodialysis patients.