UNLABELLED To evaluate the influence of acute isovolemic hemodilution on the dose-response and time course of action of vecuronium, we studied 60 adult patients with and without hemodilution during surgery. The patients with hemodilution underwent major elective plastic surgery with an anticipated surgical loss of more than 600 mL. Anesthesia was induced with thiopental 4-6 mg/kg and fentanyl 2-4 microg/kg i.v. and was maintained with 60% nitrous oxide in oxygen. Further increments of thiopental 2 mg/kg or fentanyl 2 microg/kg were given as required. Acute isovolemic hemodilution in the hemodilution group was induced by drainage of venous blood and an i.v. infusion of lactated Ringer's solution and 6% dextran, during which hematocrit and hemoglobin decreased from 45.7% to 26.2% and from 148.5 g/L to 90.2 g/L, respectively. Neuromuscular function was assessed mechanomyographically with train-of-four stimulation at the wrist every 12 s, and the percent depression of T1 response was used as the study parameter. The dose-response relationships of vecuronium in the two groups were determined by using the cumulative dose-response technique. The results showed that during hemodilution, the dose-response curve of vecuronium was shifted to the left in a parallel fashion, and the potency of vecuronium was increased. There were significant differences in the 50%, 90%, and 95% effective doses between the two groups. After the i.v. administration of vecuronium 80 microg/kg, vecuronium-induced neuromuscular block was significantly longer in the patients with hemodilution than in the control patients. The duration of peak effect, clinical duration, recovery index, and total duration in the hemodilution patients were significantly different from those in the control patients. We conclude that hemodilution induces significant changes in the pharmacodynamics of vecuronium. IMPLICATIONS We found that patients with hemodilution were 20% more sensitive to vecuronium and had a longer duration of action after the administration of the same dose than the controls. This should be taken into account when vecuronium is used as a muscle relaxant during acute hemodilution.