Elevated homocysteine (hyperhomocysteinaemia) in renal patients is a major concern for physicians. Although cause and effect between homocysteine and cardiovascular disease (CVD) has not been established in either the general population or renal patients, there is much evidence that this relationship does exist. Purported mechanisms that may explain this effect include increases in endothelial injury, smooth muscle cell proliferation, low-density lipoprotein oxidation and changes in haemostatic balance. Renal patients have a much greater incidence of hyperhomocysteinaemia and this may be explained by decreases in either the renal or extrarenal metabolism of the compound. We conclude that data from long-term placebo-controlled trials are urgently required to determine whether hyperhomocysteinaemia in renal patients is a cause of CVD events and requires therapeutic targeting.