In a review of 112 patients with SLE nephritis treated between 1976 and 1982, 31 were known to have died. Renal failure (32.2%) was the commonest cause of death. Gastrointestinal haemorrhage (16%), infections (12.8%) and central nervous system involvement (6.5%) were important causes of death. Thirteen out of 17 patients dying in the presence of renal failure had initially presented with renal impairment. Renal biopsies in 16 patients who have died showed diffuse proliferative glomerulonephritis in all except 1 patient, and uraemia was the commonest cause of death in these patients. Pregnancies terminating in abortions were followed by complications in 5 patients. Discontinuation of steroid therapy by patients was followed by complications, and ended in death in 6 patients.