We studied 111 infants requiring an umbilical artery catheter, 59 with heparin and 52 without. Thirty-four thrombi were detected, 16 in the heparin group and 18 in the control group. The numbers of thrombi in the two groups was not significantly different, but the number of clotted or nonfunctioning umbilical artery catheters was greater in the control group (P less than 0.05), as was the incidence of hypertension (P less than 0.05). There were no other significant differences between the two groups. We conclude that the use of low doses of heparin may not change the incidence of umbilical artery catheter-related thrombi, but it does appear to lower the incidence of their sequelae.