Cardiovascular alterations such as increased heart rate, high cardiac output, reduced systemic vascular resistance, and in most of the cases, increased contractility parameters have been recognized in patients with advanced liver disease. Some investigators define a cirrhotic cardiomyopathy as a hyperdynamic failure of the heart. Consequently, in patients with cirrhosis, the risk of developing further circulatory deterioration may be increased in situations which stress the cardiovascular system. After opening a portocaval shunt, it is expected that a large amount of blood will be distributed from the splanchnic to the pulmonary circulation and put a strain on the heart. This two-dimensional echocardiographic study was made in 30 patients with cirrhosis and in 20 patients who were chronically treated (range: 16 to 156 months) with portasystemic shunt for prevention of hemorrhage from esophageal variceal bleeding. Patients with portasystemic shunts revealed a change in hemodynamic pattern. There was a significant increase in the left ventricular end-diastolic volume index and also a slight increase in the left ventricular end-systolic index. Cardiac output remained high despite a significant decrease in heart rate due to an elevated left ventricular stroke volume index. The parameters of systolic ventricular performance were normal. In contrast to the acute opening of the portacaval shunt, the chronic shunt volume put no strain of clinical significance on the heart.