OBJECTIVES To study the central and regional hemodynamics and oxygen consumption during acute hypovolemia and volume replacement with crystalloid and colloid solutions. DESIGN Prospective, randomized, laboratory investigation. SETTING Clinical physiology department at a university hospital. SUBJECTS Eighteen healthy male volunteers, between 21 and 35 yrs of age (mean 26). INTERVENTIONS Catheters were inserted in the cubital vein, brachial artery, pulmonary artery, thoracic aorta, right hepatic vein, and left renal vein for measurements of systemic arterial and pulmonary arterial pressures, total and central blood volumes, extravascular lung water, and the splanchnic (liver) and renal blood flow rates. The exchange of respiratory gases was measured, using the Douglas bag technique. Measurements were made before and after a venesection of 900 mL and again after the subjects had been randomized and received volume replacement with either 900 mL of Ringer's acetate solution 900 mL of albumin 5%, or 900 plus 900 mL of Ringer's solution. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS Withdrawal of 900 mL of blood decreased cardiac output and the splanchnic and renal blood flow rates by between -16% and -20%. The oxygen uptake decreased by 13% in the whole body, while it remained unchanged in the liver and kidney. The systemic and pulmonary vascular resistances increased, while the extravascular lung water decreased. Autotransfusion of fluid from tissue to blood was indicated by hemodilution, which was most apparent in subjects showing only a minor change in peripheral resistance. Cardiac output, blood volume, and systemic vascular resistance were significantly more increased by infusion of 900 mL of albumin 5% than by 900 mL of Ringer's solution. However, infusion of 1800 mL of Ringer's solution increased the extravascular lung water and the pulmonary arterial pressures to significantly above baseline, while no significant difference from baseline was found after 900 mL of Ringer's acetate solution. CONCLUSIONS Withdrawal of 900 mL of blood induces similar reductions in cardiac output as in the splanchnic and renal blood flow rates. A fluid shift from the extravascular to the intravascular fluid compartment might restore up to 50% of the blood loss. Optimal volume substitution with Ringer's solution can be effectuated by infusing between 100% and 200% of the amount of blood lost.