Summary. von Willebrand disease (VWD) is characterized by insufficient von Willebrand factor (VWF) activity. It has been proposed that VWF:ristocetin cofactor (VWF:RCo) activity may be useful in evaluating the response to VWD treatment in patients who require replacement therapy. This prospective, open-label, non-randomized study evaluated the safety and efficacy of a factor VIII (FVIII)/VWF concentrate (Humate-P®) used in treatment regimens based on VWF:RCo activity in subjects with VWD in situations requiring urgent and necessary surgery. This article summarizes the results for 39 subjects with 42 evaluable surgical treatment events, 100% of which were rated as excellent/good for overall efficacy (achievement of haemostasis). The median loading dose based upon VWF:RCo activity was 82.3 international units/kilogram (IU kg−1; range 32.5–216.8 IU kg−1), and the median maintenance dose per infusion was 52.8 IU kg−1 (range 24.2–196.5 IU kg−1) for a median of 3 days (range 1–50 days). The median number of infusions per event was 6 (range 1–67 infusions). Three unanticipated adverse events (peripheral oedema, extremity pain and pseudo-thrombocytopenia) from two surgical treatment events were reported that were potentially treatment-related. No serious drug-related adverse events (AEs) were observed, and no thrombotic events were reported in this study. This study supports the safety and efficacy of the FVIII/VWF concentrate Humate-P® for the prevention of surgical haemorrhage in patients with VWD when administered in doses calculated in VWF:RCo units.