Elevated thrombin-antithrombin complex (TAT) or decreased serum albumin levels suggest heightened vascular permeability in disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). In such a situation, plasma antithrombin III (AT-III) may decrease because of the leakage. We thus examined whether AT-III activity before and after administration of an AT-III agent changed depending on plasma TAT and/or serum albumin levels in 20 consecutive patients with DIC. We also analyzed the pharmacokinetics for AT-III using a two-compartment model. Serum albumin levels before AT-III administration correlated with preadministered and postadministered AT-III activity, but TAT levels did not. Regardless of TAT levels, AT-III trough activity on the third day increased significantly. In patients with albumin levels of 2.5 g/dL or less, AT-III trough levels on the third day were significantly lower than those with higher levels of albumin. The half-life of the distribution phase for AT-III agent in the patients was shortened to less than one third the value reported in congenital AT-III deficiency, suggesting increased vascular permeability in the acute state patients here. The distribution volume of the agent increased remarkably compared with the previous control. We report here for the first time that in critical patients with DIC, plasma AT-III levels before and after AT-III administration could be predicted by preadministered serum albumin levels, but not by TAT. These findings could be explained by the pharmacokinetic profile, increased vascular permeability and distribution volume, observed in critical patients.