In 9 regular hemodialysis patients, the carotid baroreceptor reflex was studied using standardized carotid sinus stimulation by neck suction. All patients were studied during predialysis conditions (recirculation), and during dialysis using dialyzate sodium concentrations of 145 and 133 mmoles/l. Baroreceptor stimulation was performed during the recirculation period and after 120-266 minutes of combined dialysis and ultrafiltration. Dialysis alone with either sodium concentration tended to decrease blood pressure. Heart rate as well as plasma renin activity increased significantly during dialysis with either procedure. In contrast to the findings in healthy subjects, heart rate was not influenced by neck suction, possibly reflecting a vagal neuropathy in uremic patients. However, carotid sinus stimulation decreased systolic pressure during recirculation to the same extent as has been found in healthy subjects. Furthermore, the blood pressure response to neck suction was enhanced during dialysis. These findings suggest that the blood pressure decrease during dialysis can not be explained by defective blood pressure control by the carotid sinus baroreceptors.