ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: The aim here was to study acute effects of hemodialysis among end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients. DESIGN AND SETTING: Prospective study in tertiary-level care center. METHODS: Fifty ESRD patients undergoing hemodialysis were studied. Spirometric pulmonary function tests were performed before and after four-hour hemodialysis sessions. RESULTS: The patients’ average age was 45.8 ± 10.0 years; 64% were males and 64% had normal body mass index. Anemia (94%) and hypoalbuminemia (72%) were common. Diabetes mellitus (68%), hypertension (34%) and coronary artery disease (18%) were major comorbidities. Forty-five patients (90%) had been on hemodialysis for six months to three years. The patients’ pre-dialysis mean forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) were below normal: 45.8 ± 24.9% and 43.5 ± 25.9% of predicted, respectively. After hemodialysis, these increased significantly, to 51.1 ± 23.4% and 49.3 ± 25.5% of predicted, respectively (P < 0.01). The increase in mean FEV1/FVC, from 97.8 ± 20.8% to 99.3 ± 20.1% of predicted, was not significant (P > 0.05). The pre-dialysis mean forced expiratory flow 25-75% was 50.1 ± 31% and increased significantly, to 56.3 ± 31.6% of predicted (P < 0.05). The mean peak expiratory flow was below normal (43.8 ± 30.7%) and increased significantly, to 49.1 ± 29.9% of predicted (P < 0.05). Males and females showed similar directions of change after hemodialysis. CONCLUSIONS: Pulmonary function abnormalities are common among ESRD patients. Comparison of pre and post-hemodialysis parameters showed significant improvements, but normal predicted values were still not achieved.