Atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis is the most common primary disease of the renal arteries, and it is associated with two major clinical syndromes, ischemic renal disease and hypertension. The prevalence of this disease in the population is undefined because there is no simple and reliable test that can be applied on a large scale. Renal artery involvement in patients with coronary heart disease and/or heart failure is frequent, and it may influence cardiovascular outcomes and survival in these patients. Suspecting renal arterial stenosis in patients with recurrent episodes of pulmonary edema is justified by observations showing that about one third of elderly patients with heart failure display atherosclerotic renal disease. Whether interventions aimed at restoring arterial patency may reduce the high mortality in patients with heart failure is still unclear because, to date, no prospective study has been carried out in these patients. Increased awareness of the need for cost containment has renewed the interest in clinical cues for suspecting renovascular hypertension. In this regard, the DRASTIC study constitutes an important attempt at validating clinical prediction rules. In this study, a clinical rule was derived that predicted renal artery stenosis as efficiently as renal scintigraphy (sensitivity: clinical rule, 65% versus scintigraphy, 72%; specificity: 87% versus 92%). When tested in a systematic and quantitative manner, clinical findings can perform as accurately as more complex tests in the detection of renal artery stenosis.