1. Renal function has been studied in 312 hypertensive patients by quantitative renography with sodium o-[131I]iodohippurate (131I-labelled Hippuran) and estimation of overall effective renal plasma flow. In 59% of the patients the results were normal.
2. Severe hypertension was associated not only with reduced effective renal plasma flow but also a characteristic abnormality of Hippuran transport in 10% of the patients in which there was a wider than normal variation in transit times of Hippuran through the kidney, which may reflect non-uniformity of reabsorption of filtrate by different groups of nephrons.
3. Plasma renin activity was higher in a group of 14 patients with multimodal transit time spectra than in a matched hypertensive control group, with very substantial overlap between the two groups.
4. The renographic abnormality was usually reversed by treatment.