Although it is anticipated that most patients with renal insufficiency will progress towards end-stage renal disease (ESRD) there have been few population-based studies to validate this assumption. We examined serial creatinines from 3,874 anonymous patients at an urban VA medical center who had a baseline creatinine of 1.4 mg/dl or greater to estimate the frequency of deterioration in renal function (DRF). DRF was defined as the first Cr (1stCr) value being lower than the last Cr (LCr) for each patient. The median follow-up was 48.3 ± 0.5 months with 18 ± 0.5 creatinine values per patient. The median 1stCr was 1.6 ± 0.1 mg/dl with 32.2% of the patients having a 1stCr greater than or equal to 1.7 mg/dl. In the study group, 1,723 (44.4%) had DRF including 1,089 (41.4%) of those patients with a 1stCr of 1.4–1.7 mg/dl. However, 45 (36.6%) of those with a 1stCr value 3.0–5.0 mg/dl did not have DRF, the percent with stable creatinine in this group did not vary with length of follow-up. Over the study period, 299 (7.7%) of all the patients had a creatinine rise to 7.0 mg/dl, with 104 (4%) of those with a 1stCr of 1.4–1.7 mg/dl reaching this endpoint. Conclusion: A majority, but not all, patients with renal insufficiency lose renal function over time and those with even mild hypercreatinemia are at risk for deterioration in renal function. Hypercreatinemia, however, does not accurately discriminate between those renal insufficiency patients who are stable versus those at high risk for ESRD.