Human serum albumin (AL) containing poly(hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (pHEMA; in tube form with an inner diameter of 6 mm) was synthesized for blood-contacting hydrogel networks via UV-initiated photopolymerization. at 25 degrees C. Tensile and breaking tests of pHEMA and pHEMA-AL-1-4 hydrogel networks were studied at their equilibrium water content. The mechanical strength of the hydrogel networks was found to be lowered by an increase in the ratio of AL in the polymer networks. To increase the blood compatibility and prevent thrombus formation, the surface of the pHEMA and pHEMA-AL-3 hydrogel compositions were coated with heparin (HEP). Contact-angle studies showed that the polarities (%) of the pHEMA-AL-3 and pHEMA-AL-3-HEP hydrogel networks were significantly increased in comparison with that of pure pHEMA. The fibrinogen adsorption and platelet adhesion were also reduced after the incorporation of AL and HEP into/onto hydrogel networks in comparison with the pure pHEMA control. Blood compatibility tests of the prepared hydrogel networks, which were intended to be used as blood-contacting materials, were examined with various parameters, such as the hemolytic activity, prothrombin time, activated thromboplastin time, and loss of blood cells in blood. (C) 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.