Percutaneous transluminal renal angioplasty is a safe and effective treatment for nonostial stenoses of the renal arteries, but it has proved to be disappointing for ostial stenoses. Therefore, we prospectively studied the use of intravascular stents for the treatment of critical ostial stenoses after unsuccessful balloon angioplasty. Stainless-steel endoprostheses were placed across 74 renal-artery stenoses located within 5 mm of the aortic lumen in 68 patients with hypertension. Twenty patients had mild or severe renal dysfunction. The indications for stent placement were elastic recoil (63 arteries) or dissection (1 artery) of the vessel after angioplasty, or restenosis after initially successful balloon angioplasty (10 arteries). Patients were followed for a mean of 27 months with measurements of blood pressure and serum creatinine, duplex sonography, and intraarterial angiography. Initial technical success was achieved in all patients. Minor complications (local hematomas) occurred in only three patients; there were no major complications. Eighty-four percent of the patients were free of primary occlusion 60 months after the procedure. Restenosis of more than 50 percent of the vessel diameter occurred in 8 of 74 arteries (11 percent). Reintervention resulted in a secondary patency rate of 92 percent. Long-term normalization of blood pressure was achieved in 11 patients (16 percent). Serum creatinine levels did not change significantly after successful stent implantation in patients with previously impaired renal function. Accurate placement of renal-artery stents is technically feasible without major complications. The favorable early and long-term results suggest that primary stent placement is an effective treatment for renal-artery stenosis involving the ostium.