In our miniature swine model of brain retraction ischemia under conditions simulating the neurosurgical operating room, we studied the effects of bolus mannitol (2 g/kg) administration on cerebral blood flow, blood pressure, blood viscosity, hematocrit, sodium, and potassium serially for 4 hours following administration, at which time a second bolus was administered. Both viscosity and hematocrit were significantly decreased transiently following both the first and second boluses. Sodium was decreased for 30 minutes following the first bolus, 15 minutes following the second bolus, and increased at 150 minutes and later following the second bolus. There was a mild decrease in blood pressure and a mild increase in cerebral blood flow following mannitol, but little difference between the first hour following a bolus (when the viscosity and hematocrit were decreased) and hours 2-4 (when they were near baseline). Mannitol's effects on blood pressure and cerebral blood flow probably depend on factors in addition to its effects on blood viscosity and hematocrit. The results are discussed in light of previous findings that bolus mannitol administration may improve cerebral blood flow in ischemia, but does not appear to benefit the preservation of brain electrical activity.