Human plasma contains an inhibitor of tissue factor-initiated coagulation known as the lipoprotein-associated coagulation inhibitor (LACI) or also known as the extrinsic pathway inhibitor (EPI). A competitive fluorescent immunoassay was developed to measure the plasma concentration of LACI in samples from normal individuals and patients with a variety of diseases. The LACI concentration in an adult control population varied from 60% to 160% of the mean with a mean value corresponding to 89 ng/mL or 2.25 nmol/L. Plasma LACI levels were not decreased in patients with severe chronic hepatic failure, warfarin therapy, primary pulmonary hypertension, thrombosis, or the lupus anticoagulant. Plasma LACI antigen was decreased in some, but not all patients with gram-negative bacteremia and evidence for disseminated intravascular coagulation. Plasma LACI levels were elevated in women undergoing the early stages of labor (29%), in patients receiving intravenous tissue-type plasminogen activator (45%), and in patients receiving intravenous heparin (375%). A radioligand blot of the pre- and post-heparin plasma samples shows the increase to be in a 40-Kd form of LACI. Very low levels of plasma LACI antigen were found in patients with homozygous abetalipoproteinemia and hypobetalipoproteinemia, diseases associated with low plasma levels of apolipoprotein B containing lipoproteins. Following the injection of heparin into one patient with homozygous abetalipoproteinemia, the plasma LACI antigen level increased to a level comparable with that in normal individuals after heparin treatment.