The relationship between the severity of cirrhosis and systemic and hepatic haemodynamic values was evaluated in 193 patients with cirrhosis, most of whom were diagnosed with post-necrotic cirrhosis. It was found that the hepatic venous pressure gradient and cardiac output in Pugh's A patients (13.6 +/- 4.8 mmHg and 6.2 +/- 1.6 L/min, mean +/- s.d.) were significantly lower than in both Pugh's B (16.8 +/- 4.3 mmHg and 7.3 +/- 2.1 L/min) and Pugh's C (18.8 +/- 5.5 mmHg and 7.4 +/- 2.3 L/min) patients (P < 0.01), respectively. In contrast, the systemic vascular resistance in Pugh's A patients (1232 +/- 369 dyn/s per cm5) was significantly higher than in both Pugh's B (1016 +/- 345 dyn/s per cm5) and Pugh's C (935 +/- 234 dyn/s per cm5) patients (P < 0.01), respectively. Additionally, not only was there a positive correlation found between Pugh's score and cardiac output and hepatic venous pressure gradient, but a negative correlation was found between Pugh's score and systemic vascular resistance. It was also confirmed that the degree of portal hypertension and the hyperdynamic circulation were more severe in patients with ascites than in those without ascites. However, there were no statistically significant differences in hepatic venous pressure gradient among patients with F1, F2 and F3 esophageal varices (15.7 +/- 4.0, 17.0 +/- 4.8 and 18.0 +/- 4.8 mmHg, respectively). It is concluded that in those patients with cirrhosis, the severity of cirrhosis is closely related to the degree of the hyperkinetic circulatory state and portal hypertension.