A double-decker rocket immunoelectrophoresis (DD-RIE) method for direct quantitation of complement split products with C3d determinants in human plasma is described. The usefulness of the DD-RIE method for monitoring C3 activation has been assessed and compared with conventional crossed immunoelectrophoresis (CIE) for C3c determination in a patient with iatrogenic septic shock and patients with rheumatoid arthritis. In contrast with CIE the DD-RIE method is quantitative by reference to a standard curve based on an internal reference C3d preparation and its sensitivity and assay capacity are superior to CIE. All reagents and antibody preparation are commercially available and the production of standards is easy. No overlapping was observed between C3d values in plasma from healthy persons and patients with active classical rheumatoid arthritis. The DD-RIE is highly suitable for routine use in laboratories of clinical immunology.