Dynamic liver radionuclide scanning was performed in cirrhotic patients to correlate three parameters derived by this technique to the severity of liver function impairment and clinical-endoscopic signs of portal hypertension. We found a close association between the severity of liver failure (Child-Pugh criteria) and both the relative blood flow (p < 0.05) and the shape (shifting to the left) of the early flow curve (p < 0.01). A significant association between the presence of portal hypertension and shifting to the left of the flow curve was demonstrated in all cases in which tense ascites was associated with varices (p < 0.05). Finally, a statistically significant association (p < 0.05) was found between the degree of esophageal varices (Beppu's criteria) and the liver-to-spleen uptake ratio. These data suggest that dynamic isotope liver scanning could be an important tool in the diagnostic evaluation of liver function impairment and portal hypertension.