Short-time low PEEP challenge (SLPC, application of additional 5 cmH(2)O PEEP to patients for 30 s) is a novel functional hemodynamic test presented in the literature. We hypothesized that SLPC could predict fluid responsiveness better than stroke volume variation (SVV) in mechanically ventilated intensive care patients. Heart rate, mean arterial pressure, stroke volume index (SVI) and SVV were recorded before SLPC, during SLPC and before and after 500 mL fluid loading. Patients whose SVI increased more than 15% after the fluid loading were defined as fluid responders. Reciever operating characteristics (ROC) curves were generated to evaluate the abilities of the methods to predict fluid responsiveness. Fifty-five patients completed the study. Twenty-five (46%) of them were responders. Decrease percentage in SVI during SLPC (SVI Delta%-SLPC) was 11.6 +/- 5.2% and 4.3 +/- 2.2% in responders and non-responders, respectively (p < 0.001). A good correlation was found between SVI Delta%-SLPC and percentage change in SVI after fluid loading (r = 0.728, P < 0.001). Areas under the ROC curves (ROC-AUC) of SVI Delta%-SLPC and SVV were 0.951 (95% CI 0.857-0.991) and 0.747 (95% CI 0.611-0.854), respectively. The ROC-AUC of SVI Delta%-SLPC was significantly higher than that of SVV (p = 0.0045). The best cut-off value of SVI Delta%-SLPC was 7.5% with 90% sensitivity and 96% specificity. The percentage change in SVI during SLPC predicts fluid responsiveness in intensive care patients who are ventilated with low tidal volumes; the sensitivity and specificity values are higher than those of SVV.