We compared the survival of 842 patients on centre haemodialysis to 272 patients on continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD). All patients selected had begun treatment between 1 January 1984 and 30 June 1988 and were from six centres which participate in a regional renal patients registry. Patients on CAPD were older and had a greater proportion of diabetes and other associated diseases. Age, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases were associated with a shorter survival on treatment in all the patients studied. Without adjustment for risk factors, patient 3-year survival was higher in centre haemodialysis than in CAPD, 80% versus 64% respectively. However, no significant differences could be shown in the survival rates of the two treatment modalities after accounting for the heterogeneity of the patients in the two groups, either by stratification or by multivariate analysis (Cox). Age was the main predictive factor for CAPD patient survival, while the influence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases was less clear. Technique survival was much better in centre haemodialysis (94% versus 56% in CAPD, 3-year survival). Older age and diabetes mellitus were associated with a greater risk of switching from centre haemodialysis to CAPD and a trend to retain those patients on CAPD.