Renal failure developed in 20 patients following blunt civilian trauma. Ten recovered normal renal function; 8 currently survive. Survivors and nonsurvivors did not differ in age, time from trauma to anuria, mean blood urea nitrogen or creatinine level prior to the first or to subsequent dialyses. However, there was an increased incidence of sepsis and liver failure in those who died. When outcome was related to site of injury, patients with closed head injury and/or intra abdominal injury had a worse prognosis than those with thoracic or extremity injury only. Only 2 patients with perforated bowel survived; both had peritoneal dialysis combined with peritoneal lavage with antibiotic solutions. Mortality in patients with posttraumatic renal failure remains high; however, death is usually a result of associated complications rather than a result of the renal failure. Aggressive management of other complications of the trauma, especially sepsis or potential sepsis, is necessary. We recommend peritoneal dialysis combined with peritoneal antibiotic lavage where there is a potential for posttraumatic intraabdominal sepsis associated with renal failure.