The absorption of high and low molecular fractions of heparin from the subcutaneous compartment was evaluated in eight healthy males. They were given an intravenous infusion of 4000 U calcium heparin in 4 hours and on another occasion a subcutaneous injection of 12,500 U calcium heparin (washout period of 1 week). Anticoagulation was monitored by anti-Xa, antithrombin activity, and activated partial thromboplastin time. To evaluate factors that might influence absorption, body weight, body fat, and abdominal skinfold thickness were recorded. There was a pronounced inter-individual variability in absorption but the absorption of the two fractions of heparin was similar. The highly variable absorption was related to the abdominal skinfold thickness, and this could have implications for therapeutic and prophylactic heparin regimens.