1. Splanchnic organ blood flow and cardiac output were measured by the microsphere method in fasted rats with prehepatic portal hypertension due to portal vein stenosis, in rats with intrahepatic portal hypertension due to bile duct ligation, and in unoperated normal rats.
2. Portal venous pressure was higher in both groups of portal hypertensive rats than in normal rats. Cardiac output was significantly higher in portal hypertensive rats than in normal rats.
3. In rats with portal vein stenosis, splanchnic blood flow was higher than in controls. This increase was caused by increased perfusion of all organs drained by the portal vein, and by increased hepatic arterial blood flow. In rats with bile duct ligation, splanchnic blood flow was not significantly higher than in normal rats: haemoperfusion of all organs contributing to the portal circulation decreased, whereas hepatic arterial blood flow increased. As cardiac output rose similarly, the differences observed between the two types of portal hypertension depend mainly on the difference in distribution of flow within the splanchnic bed.