It is well known that portal hypertension is associated with a hyperdynamic systemic circulatory state. This study measures systemic and splanchnic haemodynamics in an experimental rat model of hepatic cirrhosis. It also investigates the association between haemodynamic changes in cirrhotic animals and circulating levels of the vasoactive hormones glucagon and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP). Splanchnic blood flow was significantly increased in the cirrhotic group (13.2 ± 1.3 vs. 9.2 ± 1.6 ml/min, P < 0.05). Circulating levels of glucagon and VIP were two and five fold increased respectively in cirrhotic animals compared to controls. There was a strong correlation between portal pressure and glucagon levels in the cirrhotic group (r = 0.85). Raised splanchnic blood flow is partly responsible for elevated portal pressure in this model and this rise may be humorally mediated.