Determination of the closure time (CT) with the platelet function analyser (PFA-100TM) is a useful screening test for von Willebrand's disease (VWD) but its role in the characterization of VWD is not well established. We studied the relationship between the prolongation of the CT with adenosine diphosphate (ADP) (CT-ADP) and epinephrine (CT-EPI) cartridges and the von Willebrand factor (VWF) in 53 patients with VWD. We found that a relatively small percentage of the prolongation of the CT-ADR and CT-ADP (16 and 29%, respectively) was determined by a reduction in VWF levels. The CT-ADP was significantly more prolonged in the presence of qualitative defects in VWF but could not discriminate between the VWD subtypes. The ABO blood group had no effect on the prolongation of the CT or the bleeding time. In conclusion, the PFA-100TM appears of little use in the characterization of severity and subtype of VWD.