The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of different strategies of blood volume restitution in the outcome of portal hypertension-related bleeding in anesthetized cirrhotic rats. Gastrointestinal hemorrhage was induced by sectioning a first order branch of the ileocolic vein in 38 cirrhotic rats (common bile duct ligation and occlusion). The subsequent hypovolemic shock was treated with no transfusion (n = 17), moderate transfusion (50% of expected blood loss, 5 mL, n = 11), and total transfusion (100% of expected blood loss, 10 mL, n = 10). At the end of the blood transfusion period (minute 15), mean arterial pressure (MAP) partially recovered in rats receiving moderate transfusion or no transfusion but decreased in the 10-mL transfusion group ( downward arrow 12 +/- 43%, P < .05 vs. no transfusion and 5 mL transfusion). After transfusion, groups given no or 5 mL transfusion remained hemodynamically stable. However, rats receiving 10 mL transfusion continued to deteriorate with persistent bleeding and progressive fall in MAP ( downward arrow 65 +/- 12%; P < .05 vs. no transfusion and 5 mL transfusion). Collected blood loss was significantly greater in the 10-mL group (20.0 +/- 1.5 g) than in groups given 5 mL (15.9 +/- 2.8 g; P < .05) or no transfusion (13.2 +/- 2.1 g; P < .05 vs. 10 mL and 5 mL transfusion). Survival in the no transfusion group was 47%. Rats given 5-mL transfusion had 64% survival. The worst survival was observed in the 10-mL transfusion group (0% survival; P < .05). We concluded that a transfusion policy aimed at completely replacing blood loss worsens the magnitude of bleeding and mortality from portal hypertensive-related bleeding in cirrhotic rats. On the contrary, moderate blood transfusion allowed hemodynamic stabilization and increased survival.