The clinical picture, family history and laboratory findings of 100 patients with von Willebrand's disease (VWD) have been studied in Italy in a multicentre survey from two rural areas with a known high incidence of the disease and from two large cities (Rome and Milan). Bleeding time, procoagulant factor-VIII (VIIIAHF) assay, platelet retention and PRP-ristocetin aggregation were measured in each centre, and plasma samples were frozen and subsequently assayed for factor VIII-related antigen (VIIIAGN) and ristocetin co-factor (VIIIVWF) in one laboratory (Milan). On the basis of the inheritance pattern, clinical severity of the disease and laboratory findings, patients with VWD were separated into two groups. In 17 patients the absence of a family history of bleeding, a high incidence of parental consanguinity and involvement of both sexes suggested an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance; the unusual severity of the disease with markedly abnormal results of all six laboratory measurements (and frequent reduced levels of VIIIAGN and VIIIVWF in the unaffected parents) were consistent with the homozygous state. In 83 patients, the disease was familial (being transmitted as an autosomal dominant trait) and of moderate clinical severity. In these, VIIIVWF was usually much lower than VIIIAHF and VIIIAGN. The findings suggest that although some patients may present with simultaneous abnormalities of all six studied laboratory measurements, the majority show a variation in the spectrum of the abnormal results, without any obvious simple pattern.