There is a lack of data on patient preferences for intense hemodialysis (IHD). In this study, we conducted a cross-sectional survey to identify patient preferences and patient-centered barriers for IHD. A questionnaire on preferences and anticipated barriers, anticipated benefits, and quality of life for three in-center IHD schedules (daytime 2 hr six times/week [DHD], nocturnal 8 hr three times/week [ND3], and nocturnal 8 hr six times/week [ND6]) was administered to 100 chronic hemodialysis patients. A majority of patients (68%) were willing to undergo DHD for symptomatic benefits or increase in survival. An increase in energy level (94%) and improvement in sleep (57%) were the most common potential benefits that would justify DHD, but only 19% would undergo DHD for an increase in survival of < or =3 years. Only 20% and 7% would consider ND3 and ND6, respectively. The most common reported barriers were inadequate time for self (50%) and family (53%), followed by transportation difficulties (53%). Most patients would undergo DHD for symptomatic or survival benefits, but not ND3 or ND6. Disruption of personal time, however, is an important consideration. Success of DHD program would depend on arrangements for transportation to dialysis unit.