To our knowledge postoperative hepatic hemodynamics and hepatic metabolism have not been fully studied on a long-term basis. Our goal was to develop a large animal model that would permit the measurement of hepatic blood flow (BF), perihepatic pressures (P), and hepatic metabolism in a long-term setting. Catheters were inserted into the jugular vein, carotid artery, pulmonary artery, hepatic vein, and portal vein (PV) of 27 commercially bred pigs; ultrasonic transit time flowmeter probes were placed around the hepatic artery and PV. Daily postoperative measurements of jugular vein P, carotid artery P, pulmonary artery P, hepatic vein P, and PVP, as well as hepatic artery BF and PVBF, were recorded for 20 days. Hepatic carbohydrate metabolism was assessed by arteriovenous difference techniques. Jugular vein P, pulmonary artery P, hepatic vein P, PVP, and heart rate reached steady-state values during the first week, with a mean +/- SEM of 1.0 +/- 0.3 mm Hg for jugular vein P, 21.4 +/- 2.1 mm Hg for pulmonary artery P, 4.3 +/- 0.4 mm Hg for HVP, 7.8 +/- 0.5 mm Hg for PVP, and 116 +/- 4 beats per minute for heart rate. Mean carotid artery P increased from 65 +/- 3 mm Hg during surgery to 94 +/- 2 mm Hg on postoperative day 1 (P < 0.001) and to a mean 101 +/- 2 mm Hg thereafter. Total hepatic BF reached a steady-state value of 1,132 +/- 187 ml/min by postoperative day 7 (P = 0.19). Over week 1 hepatic artery BF measured as a percentage of total hepatic BF decreased from 35.0 +/- 3.0% to 15.5 +/- 2.7%, and PVBF increased from 65.0 +/- 3.0% to 84.5 +/- 2.7% (P < 0.005); both variables were steady thereafter. In the hemodynamic steady state the net hepatic balances of glucose, lactate, glycerol, and alanine in 5 pigs were 9.9 +/- 4.0, -4.2 +/- 0.4, -2.3 +/- 1.1, and -0.68 +/- 0.22 micromol/kg per min respectively. The net gut (portal-drained viscera) balances of glucose, lactate, alanine, and glycerol were -2.0 +/- 2.5, 1.1 +/- 0.5, 0.73 +/- 0.18, and -0.69 +/- 0.19 micromol/kg per min respectively. Thus, a reliable large animal model was developed to study acute and chronic hepatic hemodynamics and metabolism.