ABSTRACT. Low dose of hemodialysis (HD) and small body size are independent risk factors for mortality. Recent changes in clinical practice, toward higher HD doses and use of more high-flux dialyzers, suggest the need to redetermine the dose level above which no benefit from higher dose can be observed. Data were analyzed from 45,967 HD patients starting end-stage renal disease (ESRD) therapy during April 1, 1997, through December 31, 1998. Data from Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) billing records during months 10 to 15 of ESRD were used to classify each patient into one of five categories of HD dose by urea reduction ratio (URR) ranging from <60% to >75%. Cox regression models were used to calculate relative risk (RR) of mortality after adjustment for demographics, body mass index (BMI), and 18 comorbid conditions. Of the three body-size groups, the lowest BMI group had a 42% higher mortality risk than the highest BMI tertile. In each of three body-size groups by BMI, the RR was 17%, 17%, and 19% lower per 5% higher URR category among groups with small, medium, and large BMI, respectively (P < 0.0001 for each group). Patients treated with URR >75% had a substantially lower RR than patients treated with URR 70 to 75% (P < 0.005 each, for medium and small BMI groups). It is concluded that a higher dialysis dose, substantially above the Dialysis Outcomes Quality Initiative guidelines (URR >65%), is a strong predictor of lower patient mortality for patients in all body-size groups. Further reductions in mortality might be possible with increased HD dose.