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Patients with chronic renal failure undergoing renal transplantation have a high prevalence of cardiovascular disease. Invasive investigation may identify those at risk of cardiac death during or after renal transplantation, but which patients should undergo cardiac catheterization is currently not clear. In 95 patients awaiting renal transplantation we assessed the ability of echocardiography and exercise electrocardiography to identify patients at risk of cardiac death. Echocardiography identified impaired left ventricular (LV) systolic function in 20%, severe in 8%. Of the patients with severe LV dysfunction, 25% died before transplantation. Of those undergoing exercise electrocardiography, 44% did not achieve 85% of maximum predicted heart rate. No coronary artery disease requiring intervention was identified by exercise testing. These findings indicate that echocardiography, but not exercise electrocardiography, should be part of the assessment for renal transplantation.