Acidic oxygen-containing and basic nitrogen-containing functional groups were incorporated onto thin films formed by plasma polymerization of acrylic acid and allylamine in a lowpressure glow discharge. ESCA, ATR–FTIR spectroscopy, and static contact-angle measurements confirmed the presence of these functional groups. Surface hydrophilicity of the acrylic acid plasma polymer decreased with time due to the diffusion of hydrophilic oxygencontaining functional groups away from the surface of the plasma-treated polyethylene. In contrast, the hydrophilicity of the allylamine plasma polymer increased with time because of the extensive post-plasma-treatment oxidation with atmospheric oxygen. In assessing the blood compatibility of these two types of plasma polymer surfaces by platelet adhesion and spreading, the acidic acrylic acid plasma polymers showed an improvement in thromboresistance, but the basic allylamine plasma polymers were more thrombogenic than was the untreated low-density polyethylene base material. © 1993 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.