Von Willebrand factor (VWF) mediates blood platelet adhesion and accumulation at sites of blood vessel injury, and also carries coagulation factor VIII (FVIII) that is important for generating procoagulant activity. Von Willebrand disease (VWD), the most common inherited bleeding disorder, affects males and females, and reflects deficiency or defects of VWF that may also cause decreased FVIII. It may also occur less commonly as an acquired disorder (acquired von Willebrand syndrome). This article briefly summarizes selected features of the March 2008 evidence-based clinical and laboratory diagnostic recommendations from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Expert Panel for assessment for VWD or other bleeding disorders or risks. Management of VWD is also addressed in the NHLBI guidelines, but is not summarized here. The VWD guidelines are available at the NHLBI Web site (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/vwd). Am. J. Hematol. 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.