In patients with renal disease undergoing cardiovascular surgery, perioperative management continues to be a challenge. Traditional answers have turned into new questions with the introduction of new agents and the redesign of old techniques. For ARF prevention, early recognition of pending deleterious compensatory changes is critical. Theoretically, therapeutic intervention designed to prevent ischemic renal failure should be designed to preserve the balance between RBF and oxygen delivery on one hand and oxygen demand on the other. Maintenance of adequate cardiac output distribution to the kidney is determined by the relative ratio of renal artery vascular resistance to systemic vascular resistance. Indeed, it should not be surprising to learn that norepinephrine (despite its vasoconstricting effect) has been reported to have no deleterious renal effects in patients with low systemic vascular resistance. Until recently, strategies for the treatment of ARF have been directed to supportive care with dialysis (to allow tubular regeneration). Various therapeutic maneuvers have been introduced in an attempt to accelerate the recovery of glomerular filtration, including dialysis, nutritional regimens, and new pharmacologic agents. A recent small prospective trial of low-dose dopamine in the prophylaxis of ARF in patients undergoing abdominal aortic aneurysm repair showed no benefit in those patients receiving dopamine. Conversely, the effects of intravenous atrial natriuretic peptide in the treatment of patients with ARF appear to offer benefit in patients with oliguria. Among 121 patients with oliguric renal failure, 63% of those who received a 24-hour infusion of atrial natriuretic peptide required dialysis within 2 weeks compared with 87% who did not. Whether this effect will be borne out in the future remains to be determined. The administration of epidermal growth factor after induction of ischemic ARF in rats has been shown to enhance tubular regeneration and accelerate recovery of kidney function. Human growth factor administration has been shown to increase GFR 130% greater than baseline in patients with chronic renal failure, but no data for clinical ARF have been reported. In addition, there have been significant improvements in dialysis technology in the treatment of ARF. Modern dialysis uses bicarbonate as a buffer as opposed to acetate, which reduces cardiovascular instability, and has more precise regulation of volume removal. Dialysate profiles and temperatures improve hemodynamics and reduce intradialytic hypotension. Techniques of hemodialysis without anticoagulation have reduced bleeding complications. Finally, dialysis membranes activate neutrophils and complement less with the biocompatible membranes used today that reduce recovery time and dialysis treatment. Evidence indicates that activation of complement and neutrophils by older dialysis membranes caused a greater incidence of hypotension, adding to ischemic renal injury. It remains to be determined whether early and frequent dialysis with biocompatible membranes, as well as other therapeutic interventions, will increase the survival of patients with perioperative ARF.