The mechanism by which dextran 40 reduces early graft thrombogenicity has not been fully elucidated. Dextran improves haemaodynamics, reduces platelet aggregation, alters fibrin formation and enhances thrombus lysis. In this experimental investigation on sheep using a low flow model, the thrombogenicity of various grafts was studied when either a dextran or saline infusion was given. Bilateral carotid interposition grafts with expanded polytetrafluorethylene (ePTFE) on one side and dacron on the other (random allocation) were inserted in 12 sheep. The sheep were randomly divided into two groups, one given a dextran infusion and the other saline. A tendency for improved graft patency was seen in the dextran 40 treated animals (P less than 0.05 at 3 h). However, platelet accumulation did not differ markedly between the dextran 40 and saline treated groups. On the other hand there was a clear reduction of platelet accumulation on ePTFE grafts compared to dacron grafts (P less than 0.01). A large part of the radioactivity measured from the dacron graft was located within the graft wall. Further studies to clarify the mechanism of action of dextran are needed.