We measured mortality and morbidity among 114 patients assigned randomly to home hemodialysis (HD) and home intermittent peritoneal dialysis (IPD). Data were collected during the time of home training and for 12 months after initiation of home dialysis. Training time was shorter for the IPD than for the HD patients (P less than 0.001) with median time 1.8 months for IPD and 3.9 months for HD. Switching to the alternative mode of treatment was more frequent for the IPD group (29/59 vs. 5/55, P less than 0.001). Survival time was not different, perhaps because of the modality change. More IPD patients were hospitalized in the first 6 months (20 for IPD vs. 9 for HD, P = 0.02), but they had fewer troublesome cardiovascular events in the first year (0 vs. 12, P less than 0.001). The HD patients maintained better nutritional status as reflected in body weight and arm muscle circumference and possibly in urea appearance rate. Thus, these data suggest that for most patients, IPD is a less satisfactory form of therapy than HD, but certain advantages of IPD did emerge. Applications of this information to the currently more popular mode of CAPD await further study.