Catheter use has been associated with an incresed risk of thrombotic complications. The objective was to make catheters less thrombogenic with the use of antithrombin-heparin covalent complex (ATH). The antithrombotic activity of ATH-coated catheters was compared to uncoated (control) and heparincoated catheters in an acute rabbit model of accelerated occluding clot formation. Anaesthetized rabbits were pre-injected with rabbit 125I-fibrinogen,followed by insertion of test catheters into the jugular vein. Blood was drawn and held in a syringe, reinjected, then flushed with saline. The experiment was terminated when blood could no longer be withdrawn (occluding clot). Efficacy was defined as the ability of catheters to remain unoccluded. Clot formation, determined by measuring deposition of radiolabeled fibrin, was a secondary endpoint. ATH-coated catheters were resistant to clotting for the full 240-minute duration, while uncoated and heparin-coated catheters had an average clotting time of 78 and 56 minutes, respectively. The patency ofATH coating was dependant on intact heparin pentasaccharide sequences, rather than the chemistries of the basecoat, the PEO spacer arm, or the antithrombin (AT) protein. The ATH coating was stable to ethylene oxide sterilization, modest abrasion, protease attack, and the coating did not appear to leach off the catheter. Surface tension measurements showed that the ATH modified surface was more hydrophilic than uncoated control catheters or heparin-coated catheters. Thus, ATH-coated catheters are better at preventing clots than uncoated or heparin-coated catheters and show promise as an alternative to the currently available catheters in reducing thrombotic complications associated with its use.