In a previous report, we showed that nutritional status and especially serum albumin had great predictive value for death in chronic hemodialysis patients, whereas blood pressure did not. In the present study, we analyzed the causes of death in consideration of the relationship between serum albumin and blood pressure. A total of 1,243 Okinawan patients (719 males, 524 females) undergoing hemodialysis in January 1991 were followed up through the end of 1995. Three hundred forty-two of the patients died, 45 received transplants, and 12 were transferred by the end of the follow-up period. The total duration of observation was 5,110.3 patient-years. Blood pressure as well as clinical and laboratory variables were determined immediately prior to the first dialysis session in January 1991. The crude death rate was 40.0% when the diastolic blood pressure (DBP) <70 mm Hg, 35.0% at 70 to 79 mm Hg, 25.0% at 80 to 89 mm Hg, 25.0% at 90 to 99 mm Hg, and 13.0% at >100 mm Hg. The death rate showed an inverse correlation with DBP. DBP showed a significant positive correlation with serum albumin (r = 0.137, P < 0.001) and age (r = -0.325, P < 0.0001). The adjusted odds ratio (95% confidence interval) of death was 0.84 (0.71 to 0.99) with 10 mm Hg increments in DBP when the reference DBP was less than 69 mm Hg. Low DBP may be a manifestation of malnutrition and/or cardiovascular disease in chronic hemodialysis patients. Target DBP levels may be higher levels in chronic hemodialysis patients than the general population.