Purpose: The aim of this study is to evaluate the relationship between timing of renal replacement therapy (RRT) in severe acute kidney injury and clinical outcomes. Methods: This was a prospective multicenter observational study conducted at 54 intensive care units (ICUs) in 23 countries enrolling 1238 patients. Results: Timing of RRT was stratified into "early" and "late" by median urea and creatinine at the time RRT was started. Timing was also categorized temporally from ICU admission into early (<2 days), delayed (2-5 days), and late (>5 days). Renal replacement therapy timing by serum urea showed no significant difference in crude (63.4% for urea ≤24.2 mmol/L vs 61.4% for urea >24.2 mmol/L; odds ratio [OR], 0.92; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.73-1.15; P = .48) or covariate-adjusted mortality (OR, 1.25; 95% CI, 0.91-1.70; P = .16). When stratified by creatinine, late RRT was associated with lower crude (53.4% for creatinine >309 μmol/L vs 71.4% for creatinine ≤309 μmol/L; OR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.36-0.58; P < .0001) and covariate-adjusted mortality (OR, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.37-0.69; P < .001). However, for timing relative to ICU admission, late RRT was associated with greater crude (72.8% vs 62.3% vs 59%, P < .001) and covariate-adjusted mortality (OR, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.30-2.92; P = .001). Overall, late RRT was associated with a longer duration of RRT and stay in hospital and greater dialysis dependence. Conclusion: Timing of RRT, a potentially modifiable factor, might exert an important influence on patient survival. However, this largely depended on its definition. Late RRT (days from admission) was associated with a longer duration of RRT, longer hospital stay, and higher dialysis dependence. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.