Thrombin-antithrombin III complex (TAT) and plasmin-alpha 2-plasmin inhibitor complex (PIC) were examined in the acute stage in 51 patients with nontraumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage. TAT and PIC values were correlated with severity at the time of onset and with outcome. In the patients whose TAT levels were 25 ng/ml or more and PIC levels were 3.0 micrograms/ml or more (n = 16), only 25% had a good or fair outcome. In the patients with TAT levels less than 25 ng/ml or PIC levels less than 3.0 micrograms/ml (n = 35), on the other hand, 82.9% had a good or fair outcome. There were no significant differences in TAT and PIC levels between patients who experienced arterial spasm and those who did not. These results indicate that TAT and PIC values may reflect the severity of the brain damage induced by subarachnoid hemorrhage. It is speculated that marked coagulation and fibrinolytic disorders occur in the acute stage of subarachnoid hemorrhage.