Rapid administration of intravascular volume expanders is often necessary during anesthesia. Significant controversy still exists on the relative values of different volume expanders. Fifteen hypoxemic patients (Pa02 <70 torr on room air) were studied preoperatively. They were randomized into three groups. One group received 1.5 ml/kg of 25% salt-poor human albumin, a second group, 7 ml/kg of fresh frozen plasma; a third group, 7 ml/kg of 0.9% NaCI in water (normal saline). The infusions were given intravenously and completed in 20 minutes. Changes in hemodynamic pressures and flows, blood chemistries, and oxygen uptake and transport variables were studied. It was concluded that fresh frozen plasma afforded the greatest increase in cardiac output and oxygen availability with the least increase in left ventricular stroke work. Colloid osmotic pressure was more significantly increased by fresh frozen plasma than by salt-poor human albumin. Normal saline caused both a decrease in oxygen availability and colloid osmotic pressure. Pulmonary venous admixture increased to some extent in all patients receiving fresh frozen plasma or normal saline. In three patients, this increase was very marked and accompanied by severe arterial hypoxemia.