Summary. von Willebrand disease (vWD) is a bleeding disorder caused by quantitative (type 1 and 3) or qualitative (type 2) defects of von Willebrand factor (vWF). The molecular basis of type 2And 3 vWD are now known and those of type 1 vWD are being understood. Phenotypic diagnosis is based on the measurements of plasma and platelet vWF, of the ability of vWF to interact with platelet receptors and the analysis of the multimeric structure of vWF. Due to the heterogeneity of vWF defects and the variables that interfere with vWF levels, a correct diagnosis of types and subtypes may sometimes be difficult but is very important for therapy. The aim of treatment is to correct the dual defects of haemostasis, i.e. abnormal intrinsic coagulation expressed by low levels of factor VIII (FVIII) and abnormal platelet adhesion. Desmopressin is the treatment of choice in patients with type 1 vWD, who account for approximately 70% of cases, because it corrects FVIII–vWF levels and the prolonged bleeding time (BT) in the majority of these patients. In type 3 and in severe forms of type 1 and 2 vWD patients, desmopressin is not effective and it is necessary to resort to plasma concentrates containing FVIII and vWF. Treated with virucidal methods, these concentrates are effective and safe, but they cannot always correct BT defect. Platelet concentrates or desmopressin can be used as adjunctive treatments when poor correction of BT after plasma concentrate treatment is associated with continued bleeding.