Because the clinical significance of von Willebrand factor (vWF), a marker of endothelial injury, has not been well studied in adult patients with dermatomyositis (DM), we evaluated whether plasma vWF levels are useful as an index of disease activity in these patients. We measured plasma vWF antigen levels in 11 patients with active adult DM, 13 patients with inactive DM, and 18 healthy subjects using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The association of vWF level with clinical condition and muscle-derived enzyme leakage among DM patients was examined using analysis of covariance and logistic regression analysis. Furthermore, we studied the effects of treatment on the vWF antigen level. The mean vWF antigen level was significantly higher in active DM patients than in inactive DM patients and healthy subjects. Higher vWF levels were associated with clinical symptoms, such as general fatigue, fever, and muscle weakness. They were also associated with the levels of aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, and aldolase, but not with those of lactate dehydrogenase and creatine kinase (CK). vWF antigen was correlated with muscle enzymes except for CK. The plasma vWF levels in six patients with active DM significantly decreased after successful corticosteroid treatment. Plasma vWF level may be considered a useful marker of disease activity in adult DM patients.