A new experimental model of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) in rats is described. A needle was stereotaxically placed in the prechiasmatic cistern and 300, 250 or 200 microl of blood was injected manually, keeping the intracranial pressure (ICP) at the mean arterial blood pressure (MABP) level. An acceptable mortality was observed only after injection of 200 microl of blood. In this group, MABP and ICP increased immediately after SAH, but soon approached baseline levels. The subarachnoid blood was mainly distributed in the basal cisternal system and its estimated volume was about 95% of the amount injected. This new model resembles clinical SAH, is very reproducible, easy to use and seems to be a suitable model for studies of the pathophysiology of SAH.