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Previous investigations have reported the systemic haemodynamic characteristics of obese hypertensive patients; however, their renal haemodynamics have not been explored. This report compares the renal and systemic haemodynamic findings in obese and lean normotensive and hypertensive patients. Our results demonstrate that both normotensive and hypertensive obese subjects had an increased renal blood flow, total blood volume and cardiac output, with decreased total peripheral and renal vascular resistances in comparison with lean normotensive and hypertensive patients. Body weight correlated directly and significantly with total blood volume, cardiac output and renal blood flow but indirectly with total peripheral resistance. Therefore, the elevated cardiac output and volume expansion found in obese patients were associated with increased renal perfusion; this increased renal blood flow accounts for the reduced renal vascular resistance in patients with obesity hypertension. Thus, we suggest that this effect of volume expansion in obesity could counteract the opposing effect of active vasoconstriction produced by the hypertensive disease and may account for the difference in prognosis of obese and lean hypertensive patients.