The effects of dopamine on kidney function have not been elucidated in patients with cirrhosis. Moreover, although increased portal pressure has been observed with supradopaminergic doses of dopamine in these patients, the splanchnic hemodynamic effects of low doses of dopamine have not been previously studied. Thus we studied the acute systemic, splanchnic and renal hemodynamic effects of a dopaminergic dose of dopamine (1.5 μg/kg body wt min) in nine cirrhotic patients. Plasma dopamine levels increased markedly from 35 ± 20 pg/ml to 31,400 ± 4,900 pg/ml during dopamine administration. A significant diastolic pressure decrease of 10% was associated with a 15% increase in heart rate. Cardiac output was not altered. Although dopamine significantly increased azygos blood flow by 16%, wedged and free hepatic venous pressures were not altered. Dopamine significantly increased renal blood flow by 31%, but did not change the glomerular filtration rate. We conclude that a dopaminergic dose of dopamine increases azygos blood flow but not the hepatic venous pressure gradient. Finally, although it increases renal blood flow, dopamine does not seem to have any beneficial effects on glomerular filtration rate in cirrhotic patients.