Thirty-six haemodialysis patients on treatment for more than six months were studied for residual renal function (RRF). Twenty patients were anuric. The remaining 16 patients with RRF excreted 35-1600 ml urine/day with creatinine clearance ranging 0.17-6.95 ml/min. Patients with RRF were on dialysis therapy for shorter periods than those with anuria (25.5 +/- 18.5 vs. 101.7 +/- 14.2 months, p = 0.001). Twelve out of 20 anuric patients had had previous renal transplantation, whereas none of those with RRF had been transplanted (p = 0.0006). Interdialytic weight gain, serum potassium and phosphate were lower in patients with RRF. Serum phosphate and uric acid were correlated with their respective urinary excretion rates (p = 0.013 and 0.005, respectively), but interdialytic weight gain could not be correlated with urinary output. Creatinine clearance significantly correlated with urinary excretion of potassium, sodium, phosphate and uric acid. In this series of patients a previous unsuccessful renal transplantation was an important factor in the loss of RRF. The presence of RRF contributed to the regulation of the blood levels of phosphate and the excretion rate of potassium, sodium and uric acid.