Pulmonary venous admixture (Qsp/Qt) was analyzed as a function of fractional concentration of inspired O2 (FIO2) in 30 patients who required postoperative mechanical ventilation. Pulmonary and radial artery blood-gas tensions and pH were measured and Qsp/Qt was calculated with FIO2 ranging from 0.21 to 1. In all patients, Qsp/Qt decreased when FIO2 was increased from 0.21 to 0.4 and then stabilized to an FIO2 of approximately 0.6. As the FIO2 was increased to 1, Qsp/Qt increased. Since the inhalation of gas mixture with FIO2 greater than or equal to 0.6 increased right-to-left intrapulmonary shunting of blood, we recommend respiratory function be evaluated during inhalation of a clinically useful concentration of O2 rather than at an FIO2 of 1.