All patients who received initial dialysis therapy by either continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) or home hemodialysis between January 1979 and January 1983 were retrospectively compared for adequacy of dialysis, morbidity, and survival. In this study group, 30 patients had home hemodialysis and 21 patients had CAPD; the mean ages of the patients in these two groups were comparable. Both methods of treatment provided adequate dialysis, as shown by results of serial laboratory studies. The number of days of hospitalization per year at risk was twice as great for the patients on CAPD as for those on home hemodialysis; peritonitis was responsible for this difference. The survival was similar in both groups at 32 months of therapy. Death was clearly related to coexisting morbid events other than dialysis in the home hemodialysis group; however, one of the two deaths in the group on CAPD seemed to be indirectly related to the treatment of peritonitis. These findings suggest that CAPD, when compared with hemodialysis, (1) provides adequate dialysis, (2) is accompanied by greater morbidity (hospitalization), and (3) may introduce a morbid event (peritonitis) that may adversely affect survival.