OBJECTIVE: The prevalence of atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis (RAS) varies depending on patient selection with no specific guidelines on indications for selective renal angiography in patients referred for coronary angiography. The goal of this study is to determine the prevalence and predictors of renal artery stenosis in hypertensive veterans referred for coronary angiography. DESIGN: Prospective study. SETTING: Tertiary care veterans' administration facility in the USA. PATIENTS, PARTICIPANTS: A total of 90 veterans referred for coronary angiography with an initial ascending aortic pressure > 135 mmHg. INTERVENTIONS: Selective renal angiography was performed following coronary angiography. RESULTS: We found that 28% of the patients had single RAS (> or = 50% stenosis), while 16% had single RAS > or = 70% stenosis, 10% had bilateral RAS >or = 50% and 6% had bilateral RAS > or = 70%. Significant positive univariate predictors of RAS (> or = 50%) were age, peripheral vascular disease (PVD), creatinine level (Cr) and myocardial infarction. Significant multivariate predictors of RAS (> or = 50%) were age > 65 years [relative risk (RR), 3.6; 95% confidence interval (CI), (1.2-10.6)], PVD [RR 3.2, 95% CI (1.1-9.1)] and Cr > 1 mg/dl [RR 4.9, 95% CI (1.53-15.9)]. No complications related to renal angiography were noted. CONCLUSIONS: Selective renal angiography during routine coronary angiography in hypertensive veterans with coronary artery disease is safe and uncovers RAS in many older patients with PVD and renal insufficiency.