von Willebrand disease (VWD) is a commonly encountered inherited bleeding disorder affecting both males and females, causing mucous membrane and skin bleeding symptoms, and bleeding with surgical or other haemostatic challenges. VWD may be disproportionately symptomatic in women of child-bearing age. It may also occur less frequently as an acquired disorder (acquired von Willebrand syndrome). VWD is caused by deficiency or dysfunction of von Willebrand factor (VWF), a plasma protein that mediates platelet haemostatic function and stabilizes blood coagulation factor VIII. The pathophysiology, classification, diagnosis and management of VWD are relatively complex, but understanding them is important for proper diagnosis and management of patients with VWD. These evidence-based guidelines for diagnosis and management of VWD from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Expert Panel (USA) review relevant publications, summarize current understanding of VWD pathophysiology and classification, and present consensus diagnostic and management recommendations based on analysis of the literature and expert opinion. They also suggest an approach for clinical and laboratory evaluation of individuals with bleeding symptoms, history of bleeding or conditions associated with increased bleeding risk. This document summarizes needs for further research in VWF, VWD and bleeding disorders, including clinical research to obtain more objective information about bleeding symptoms, advancements in diagnostic and therapeutic tools, and enhancement in the education and training of clinicians and scientists in bleeding and thrombotic disorders. The NHLBI Web site (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/vwd) has a more detailed document, a synopsis of these recommendations, and patient education information.