Pre-liver transplant renal dysfunction is associated with decreased survival following transplantation and is also a prognostic indicator of posttransplant chronic kidney disease. Selection of patients for combined liver/kidney transplantation versus orthotopic liver transplantation alone (OLTa) is often difficult given the lack of a reliable method to predict which patients will have ongoing severe renal dysfunction in the absence of concomitant kidney transplantation. We hypothesized that most patients with pretransplant renal dysfunction (serum creatinine > or = 1.5 mg/dL for at least 2 weeks prior to and at time of transplant) will not experience a rapid decline in estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGF) post-OLTa to the point of necessitating consideration for kidney transplantation, even in the setting of calcineurin inhibitor-based immunosuppression. We performed a single-center retrospective study of 60 OLTa patients with pretransplant renal dysfunction transplanted between 2000 and 2005. Kaplan-Meier analysis was performed of the time interval to develop eGFR < 20 mL/minute post-OLTa. At OLTa, the mean patient age was 59 years, and median serum creatinine was 1.8 mg/dL; 42% patients were hepatitis C-positive, 32% were diabetic, 38% had kidney dysfunction > 12 weeks, and 5% were receiving hemodialysis. After 36 months median follow-up post-OLTa, only 8 patients (13%) with significant renal dysfunction pre-OLTa achieved eGFR < 20 mL/minute. Patients with pretransplant kidney dysfunction > 12 weeks were at increased risk for eGFR < 20 mL/minute (hazard ratio = 5.3, P = 0.04), a risk that escalated after adjustment for age and serum creatinine at transplant (hazard ratio = 8.9, P = 0.01). Significant predictors of eGFR < 20 mL/minute post-OLTa in this patient cohort were the presence of diabetes and the serum creatinine level at transplant. In conclusion, few patients with preexisting renal dysfunction, especially if <12 weeks duration, experience a significant drop in eGFR post-OLTa.