Rates of progression of renal failure were calculated for a group of 277 patients who had five or more clinic visits. The goals of therapy in the absence of ongoing immunological processes were control of blood pressure to diastolic pressures less than 85 mm Hg and serum phosphate less than 1.60 mmol/L (5 mg/dL). The mean rate of progression expressed as the slope of the reciprocal creatinine versus time was -0.0054 +/- 0.0009 dL/mg/mo (mean +/- SEM), and the median was -0.00315 dL/mg/mo. Approximately 25% of these patients had rates of progression less than -0.001 dL/mg/mo. The rate of progression was inversely correlated with the creatinine concentration at entry (P less than 0.004) and with the frequency of clinic visits (P less than 0.01). The "renal survival" time from a creatinine of 880 mumol/L (10 mg/dL) to dialysis was 10.0 +/- 1.2 months (mean +/- SEM). These data provide rates of progression for a group of patients without specific dietary intervention but with vigorous control of blood pressure and phosphorus.