Women with premature menopause are at high risk for vascular compications associated with thrombogenesis and atherogenesis. The use of hormone-replacement therapy (HRT), however, may protect against these complications. Hemostatic abnormalities and endothelial function are closely related to the processes of thrombogenesis and atherogenesis. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effects of premature menopause on markers of hemostasis, platelet function, and endothelial function and the effects of starting HRT. This is a prospective longitudinal study of premenopausal women undergoing surgical menopause in whom estrogen HRT is started. We measured sequential changes in plasma levels of the hemostatic factors (fibrinogen, fibrin D-dimer, and plasminogen activiator inhibitor [PAI]), markers of platelet function (soluble leukocyte adhesion molecule P-selectin) and endothelial function (von Willebrand factor [vWf], soluble thrombomodulin [sTM], and tissue plasminogen activator [TPA]), and serum lipid levels, including lipoprotein A. Twenty-seven premenopausal women (mean age 43.6 +/- 6.5 years) undergoing hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophrectomy were studied. In the postsurgical menopausal state (visit 2), there was a significant elevation in sTM levels (paired Wilcoxon test, p = 0.008). There was also a trend toward higher median soluble P-selectin, PAI, and mean TPA levels and lower vWf levels. After 6 weeks of HRT (visit 3), there was a significant reduction in mean vWf (paired Wilcoxon test, p = 0.0026), sTM (p = 0.039), and TPA levels (p = 0.02) compared with premenopausal levels. There were no significant changes in plasma fibrinogen, fibrin D-dimer, and PAI levels at visit 2 or visit 3 compared with premenopausal levels. There was a significant increase in serum lipoprotein A (paired Wilcoxon test, p = 0.008), cholesterol, and triglyceride levels after surgical menopause (paired t test, p < 0.01). Lipoprotein A and cholesterol levels after HRT (visit 3) were not significantly different from prehysterectomy levels, although triglyceride levels were increased further. HRT results in a significant reduction in vWf, sTM, and TPA levels, suggesting beneficial effects on endothelial function and atherogenesis. Although there was a significant increase in serum lipoprotein A and cholesterol levels after surgical menopause, lipoprotein A and cholesterol levels after HRT were not significantly different from presurgery levels. These observations are consistent with the beneficial effects of HRT in cardiovascular hemodynamics and cardiovascular disease.