Serum uric acid concentrations and the fractional excretion of uric acid were determined in 31 children from 3 1/2 to 18 years of age with essential hypertension. While on an unrestricted sodium intake, elevated serum values of uric acid were found in 13 of 31 (42%) of the children. After ingesting a low-sodium diet (200 mg/day) for three days, mean serum uric acid values increased by 0.7 mg/dl (P less than 0.001). There was a significant inverse correlation between the serum uric acid concentrations and fractional excretion of uric acid during the normal and low-sodium diet. This study indicates that the major factor leading to hyperuricemia in our hypertensive patients was a decrease in urate clearance. Insofar as hyperuricemia may represent a cardiovascular risk factor, this abnormality already exists in a significant fraction of hypertensive children and adolescents.