One hundred and fourteen boys with posterior urethral valves were treated between 1966 and 1975. Four died during the first hospital admission, 6 died from renal failure during childhood, 1 died from other causes and 15 were lost to follow-up. Eighty-eight were reviewed 11 to 22 years after diagnosis and the renal outcome of 98 patients is therefore known. Approximately one-third of patients presented under 1 month of age, between 1 month and 1 year, and over 1 year respectively. Bilateral vesicoureteric reflux was observed in one-quarter of the boys, more frequently in those presenting in the first month of life. Half of the patients were treated by primary valve ablation and half underwent temporary upper tract diversion: the outcome was worse for the diverted group. One-third of the boys had a long-term bad outcome for renal function. This outcome was associated with early presentation, bilateral vesicoureteric reflux and day-time urinary incontinence after the age of 5 years. The association of bad outcome with incontinence points to continuing bladder dysfunction as a major determinant of long-term outcome for renal function.