Individuals waiting for a renal transplant experience excessive cardiovascular mortality, which is not fully explained by the prevalence of ischemic heart disease in this population. Overt heart failure is known to increase the mortality of patients with ESRD, but the impact of lesser degrees of ventricular systolic dysfunction is unknown. For examination of the association between left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and mortality of renal transplant candidates, the records of 2718 patients evaluated for transplantation at one institution were reviewed. During 6355 patient-years (median 27 mo) of follow-up, 681 deaths occurred. Patients with systolic dysfunction (LVEF <0.40) had significantly lower survival than those with higher systolic function (median 49 ± 3.1 versus 72 ± 4.0 mo; P < 0.001) but had similar survival to patients with ischemia (48 ± 2.5 mo). Multivariate modeling showed that those with systolic dysfunction were nearly twice as likely to die as those with normal systolic function, adjusted for risk factors including diabetes, left ventricular hypertrophy, and ischemia (adjusted hazard ratio 1.7; 95% confidence interval 1.43 to 2.07). In addition, a graded, reverse association between LVEF and mortality was identified. In conclusion, systolic dysfunction is strongly associated with mortality, in a graded manner, in renal transplant candidates. Copyright © 2008 by the American Society of Nephrology.