Background. To study the effect of revascularization on blood pressure (BP) and serum creatinine (SCr) in patients with atherosclerotic renovascular disease (ARVD). Methods. Three randomized studies comparing balloon angioplasty (plus medication if necessary) with medical therapy alone in patients with ARVD were identified. In one study, patients were stratified and analysed according to whether they had unilateral or bilateral disease. Therefore, four sets of results were available for inclusion in a meta-analysis comparing BP and SCr at 6 months and changes from baseline. Results. The three trials recruited 210 patients. There was no clear benefit for angioplasty when comparing BP at 6 months. Relative to the medical therapy group, the mean (95% CI) systolic/diastolic BP was 2.9 mmHg (-9.1, 3.4)/0.35 mmHg (-3.6, 2.9) lower in the angioplasty group (P=0.4/0.8). There was, however, some suggestion of benefit for angioplasty when changes in BP were compared. There was a greater reduction in the systolic/diastolic BP in the angioplasty group, with a difference of 6.3 mmHg (-11.7, -0.8)/3.3 mmHg (-6.2, -0.4) in the mean change (P=0.02/0.03). There was some suggestion of benefit for angioplasty in terms of changes in SCr, although this was not significant (P=0.06). Conclusions. The reported trials have been too small to determine reliably the role of angioplasty in ARVD. Although the combined results of three previous trials exclude the possibility of a large improvement in renal function or hypertension after angioplasty, a moderate but clinically worthwhile benefit cannot be ruled out. Further large-scale randomized evidence is needed.