Desamino-D-arginine vasopressin (DDAVP) is known to stimulate factor VIII (FVIII) and plasminogen activator release from endothelial cells, and has been shown to stimulate prostacyclin (PGI2) production in normal and haemophilic subjects. In von Willebrand's disease (vWd) some patients have a dissociate response with regard to FVIII and plasminogen activator. The aim of our study was to compare the PGI2, FVIII and plasminogen activator response to DDAVP infusion in vWd with the response to DDAVP in normal and haemophilic subjects. PGI2 metabolites thromboxane B2 (TxB2), factor VIII coagulant activity, factor VIII-related antigen and plasminogen activator were measured before and after DDAVP infusion. There was a significant increase in PGI2 metabolites, factor VIII-related antigen and plasminogen activator in all groups following DDAVP, but no effect on TxB2 was found, and there was no evidence of any dissociate response to DDAVP in any of the groups. Basal levels of PGI2 metabolites, however, were significantly lower in vWd as compared to normal and haemophilic subjects. Post-DDAVP levels of PGI2 metabolites were also significantly lower in vWd as compared with normal subjects. This may be due to a reduced stimulus to PGI2 production in vWd secondary to defective platelet adhesion.