One hundred patients were ventilated with high-frequency jet ventilation (HFJV) during the initial 24-h postoperative period in the surgical and neurosurgical ICUs. Eighty-three were successfully weaned, 2 could not be ventilated adequately with HFJV, and 15 with criteria of acute respiratory failure received HFJV for up to 21 days. A HFJV delivery system consisted of jetting and entrainment systems, both with their own humidification designs. An initial mode of HFJV using 35 psi, jet rate 100 cycle/min and inspiratory time 30% provided a mean PaCO2 of 34 torr in 38 patients studied. A comparison of HFJV without and with a positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) of 10 cm H2O indicated a decrease in mean Qsp/Qt from 17% to 13% with decrease in cardiac index (CI) from 3.39 to 2.81 L/min X m2; this effect is similar to PEEP applied to a conventional ventilator. Weaning proved to be simple and comfortable for the patient. In the light of our experience, we believe that HFJV is both feasible and practical for the postoperative patient and should be introduced into routine clinical use.