Hypertensive end-stage renal disease (ESRD) purportedly accounts for 25% of new ESRD patients each year in the United States, but remains poorly understood. Clinical features include normal renal function at diagnosis of hypertension, family history of hypertension, left ventricular hypertrophy, and minimal proteinuria. We evaluated clinical and historic data documenting the diagnosis of hypertensive ESRD in 43 patients with ESRD attributed to hypertension who were referred to our center for renal transplantation. Hypertensive ESRD patients were more likely to be black patients with left ventricular hypertrophy compared with our overall population. Few of the hypertensive ESRD patients had undergone kidney biopsy, none of whom had classic features of benign nephrosclerosis. Less than 5% of patients had hypertension documented at any time with normal renal function. Based on our review, it is clearly possible that the number of patients reaching dialysis and transplantation with renal failure attributed to hypertensive ESRD may be overestimated.