Renal complications of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor therapy are widely recognized, but few authors have documented the incidence or spectrum of these conditions. In a retrospective study of 530 consecutive patients presenting to our unit as acute uraemic emergencies over a six-year period, 85 (16 per cent) had renovascular disease that was considered to be responsible for their loss of renal function. Twenty-one (4 per cent) patients had uraemia which could be clearly attributable to ACE inhibitor treatment; 18 of these cases were shown to have significant renovascular pathology. Following withdrawal of the ACE inhibitor the renal failure reversed in the majority of patients. We also examined 400 consecutive hypertensive patients referred over a similar period and, although vascular imaging was performed only when it was considered to be clinically indicated, 58 (14.5 per cent) of these patients were shown to have renovascular pathology. A further five patients with stable chronic renal disease were seen to have a deterioration in their glomerular filtration rate coincident with commencement of ACE inhibitor therapy; this reversed when the agents were withdrawn. These observations indicate that significant renovascular disease may be more common than has been hitherto recognized and that injudicious use of ACE inhibitors may result in serious complications. Methods which may minimize such iatrogenic disease are suggested.