Diabetic coma is frequently associated with thromboembolic complications. A prospective study was undertaken of the haemostatic changes occurring in 15 patients (12 with ketoacidosis, three with the hyperosmolar syndrome) during diabetic coma. When compared with the results after stabilization of the diabetes, ketoacidosis was associated with significantly higher levels of factor VIII coagulant activity, factor VIII-related antigen and fibrin degradation products, a shorter partial thromboplastin time and reduced concentrations of antithrombin III. These results suggest that in uncomplicated ketoacidosis, haematological changes occur which may reflect vascular endothelial damage and intravascular fibrin deposition. Out of three deaths, two patients (both with the hyperosmolar syndrome) had evidence of disseminated intravascular coagulation. To reduce further the mortality and morbidity from diabetic coma, controlled clinical trials of anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs may be indicated.