Survival following 3 hr of total circulatory arrest under profound hypothermic conditions was explored in 19 adult mongrel dogs. Thermoregulatory management included combined surface/perfusion hypothermia and azeotrope anesthesia in 95% O2/5% CO2. All animals were resuscitated and survived for at least 12 hr. During the last seven trials (Group II) the following principles were applied: uniform whole-body cooling where differences between rectal, esophageal, and pharyngeal temperatures averaged less than 1 degree C, induction of circulatory arrest at approximately 3 degrees C, constant lung inflation (10-12 cm H2O between 20 degrees C cooling and 20 degrees C rewarming, including the 3-hr arrest period) and ventilation assistance with positive end-expiratory pressure (4 cm H2O) after 20 degrees C rewarming, intraoperative maintenance of colloid osmotic pressure (COP) above 11 mm Hg, replacement of the cooling perfusate with a colloid-rich rewarming prime (COP = 15 mm Hg) and restoration of hemostasis with fresh whole blood transfusions. The application of these principles resulted in the long-term survival of five animals with four survivors displaying no clinically detectable neurological abnormalities. However, two animals developed optic impairment and one animal died from intusseption on the fourth postoperative day. Despite the improved results, it should also be noted that during pilot (Group I) studies (from which the aforementioned principles were derived) fatalities from complications attributed to systemic edema, central nervous system, or pulmonary or coagulation dysfunctions occurred in 9 out of 12 trials. We conclude that whole body protection following 3 hr of total circulatory arrest at a uniform temperature less than 5 degrees C can be successfully accomplished.