With the exception of conventional angiography, no previously proposed screening test has the necessary sensitivity/specificity to guide further evaluation for correctable renovascular disease. Recently, renal duplex sonography has been suggested as a useful substitute in such screening for renovascular disease. This report analyzes our data collected over the past 10 months in evaluation of renal duplex sonography to examine its diagnostic value. The study population for renal duplex sonography validity analysis consisted of 74 consecutive patients who had 77 comparative renal duplex sonography and standard angiographic studies of the arterial anatomy to 148 kidneys. Renal duplex sonography results from six kidneys (4%) were considered inadequate for interpretation. This study population contained 26 patients (35%) with severe renal insufficiency (mean 3.6 mg/dl) and 67 hypertension (91%). Fourteen patients (19%) had 20 kidneys with multiple renal arteries. Bilateral disease was present in 22 of the 44 patients with significant renovascular disease. Renal duplex sonography correctly identified the presence of renovascular disease in 41 of 44 patients with angiographically proven lesions, and renovascular disease was not identified in any patient free of disease. When single renal arteries were present (122 kidneys), renal duplex sonography provided 93% sensitivity, 98% specificity, 98% positive predictive value, 94% negative predictive value, and an overall accuracy of 96%. These results were adversely affected when kidneys with multiple (polar) renal arteries were examined. Although the end diastolic ratio was inversely correlated with serum creatinine (r = -0.3073, p = 0.009), low end diastolic ratio in 35 patients submitted to renovascular reconstruction did not preclude beneficial blood pressure or renal function response. We conclude from this analysis that renal duplex sonography can be a valuable screening test in the search for correctable renovascular disease causing global renal ischemia and secondary renal insufficiency (ischemic nephropathy). Renal duplex sonography does not, however, exclude polar vessel renovascular disease causing hypertension alone nor does it predict hypertension or renal function response after correction of renovascular disease.