Cardiovascular diseases are the main reason of high mortality among hemodialysis patients. Decreased serum selenium levels may have a role in accelerated atherosclerosis in this patient group. The hypothesis of this study was to show a correlation between decreased serum selenium levels and coronary flow reserve as an indicator of endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis in HD patients. Seventy-one chronic hemodialysis patients and age 65 and sex-matched healthy controls were included in the study. Plasma selenium levels were measured by spectrophotometry, and coronary flow reserve was assessed by transthoracic Doppler echocardiography. Serum selenium levels (34.16 +/- 6.15 ng/ml vs. 52.4 +/- 5.51 ng/ml, P < 0.001) and coronary flow reserve values (1.73 +/- 0.11 vs. 2.32 +/- 0.28, P < 0.001) were significantly lower in hemodialysis patients compared with controls, respectively. There was a significant positive correlation between coronary flow reserve and serum levels of selenium (r = 0.676, P < 0.001). A linear regression analysis showed that serum levels of selenium were independently and positively correlated with coronary flow reserve (regression coefficient = 0.650, P < 0.05). This study was the first to show a positive and independent correlation between decreased selenium levels and diminished coronary flow reserve as an indicator of endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis in hemodialysis patients. Our data suggest that decreased serum selenium levels may facilitate the development of endothelial dysfunction and disruption of coronary flow reserve which occur before the development of overt atherosclerosis.