If nephrolithiasis (NL) promotes progression to end stage renal disease (ESRD), requiring renal replacement therapy, one might expect a higher prevalence of pre-ESRD stones among ESRD versus non-ESRD subjects. We compared the prevalence of pre-ESRD stones in an African-American (AA) hemodialysis (HD) population to the estimated stone prevalence in a nationally representative cohort of AA persons as obtained by the Third National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES III). Face-to-face questionnaires were administered to a sample of 300 AA HD patients undergoing dialysis therapy at the University of Chicago to determine pre-ESRD NL prevalence. All data on pre-ESRD stone prevalence was confirmed by documented medical history, radiology and laboratory findings, where available. Prevalence of pre-ESRD NL in AA HD patients was 8.3% versus 2.8% in the age, race and sex adjusted NHANES III population (P < 0.001). After adjustment for age and sex, it was estimated that the prevalence of pre-ESRD kidney stones among AA HD patients is significantly higher than the prevalence of kidney stones found in the general AA population.