OBJECTIVE To explore the therapeutic effects of partial liquid ventilation on canine inhalation injury. METHODS Mongrel dogs were inflicted with steam inhalation injury and were employed as the model. Partial liquid ventilation was accomplished by slow instillation of into the lungs. The changes in blood superoxide dismutase (SOD), malondialdehyde (MDA), nitric oxide (NO) and arterial oxygen pressure (PaO(2)) were determined. RESULTS The blood levels of MDA and NO at 2 postburn hours (PBHs) increased obviously but those of SOD and PaO(2) decreased significantly when compared with those before injury (P < 0.05). The blood levels of SOD, MDA, NO and PaO(2) recovered to near preinjury levels after partial liquid ventilation. CONCLUSION Partial liquid ventilation might be helpful in the management of inhalation injury by raising blood oxygen pressure, antagonizing lipid peroxidation and reducing the in vivo NO production.