Survivors of high-risk surgical operations were previously observed to have significantly higher mean CI, DO2, and VO2 than nonsurvivors. The hypothesis was proposed that increased CI and DO2 are circulatory compensations for increased postoperative metabolism. We tested this hypothesis in two series. In series 1, prospectively allocated by services, mortality and morbidity of the control group were significantly greater than those of the protocol group. In series 2, patients who fulfilled previously defined high-risk criteria were preoperatively randomized to one of three monitoring/treatment groups: CVP-control group, PA-control group and PA-protocol group. Postoperative mortalities in the CVP-control and PA-control groups were not statistically significantly different, but PA-protocol group mortality was significantly reduced compared with its control group. The PA-protocol group had reduced complications, duration of hospitalization, duration in ICU, and mechanical ventilation, and reduced costs when the PA catheter was placed preoperatively and used to augment circulatory responses.