Eighteen healthy people over 65 years of age were studied to compare the 99mTC-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA) clearance, the measured 24-hour creatinine clearance and the assessed creatinine clearance using the Cockcroft and Gault (C-G) formula to measure their glomerular filtration rate. Significant correlations were found between the isotopic method and the measured creatinine clearance (r = 0.71; p less than 0.001); the measured creatinine clearance and the C-G formula (r = 0.81; p less than 0.001), and the isotopic method and the C-G formula (r = 0.70; p less than 0.001). The C-G formula correlated better with both the 99mTc-DTPA clearance and the measured creatinine clearance when the female correction factor was used. This study has shown that in healthy, elderly people, the C-G formula for assessing the creatinine clearance correlated extremely well with the standard clinical tests for measuring the glomerular filtration rate. Whilst the formula has clinical value and allows rapid and accurate assessment of renal function in the elderly, the clinician must be aware that the formula relatively underestimates the true renal clearance.