The phosphatidylinositol (PI) bound proteins (acetylcholin-esterase (ACE), decay accelerating factor (DAF), leucocyte function antigen type 3 (LFA-3) and Fc-receptor type III (FcRIII] were estimated by flow cytometry on blood cells from four patients with paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH), nine patients with 'non-PNH' haemolytic anaemia, four patients with aplastic anaemia and a reference group of 15 healthy individuals to assess the applicability of flow cytometric measurements in the clinical mapping of the PNH defect. Estimation of DAF on granulocytes or monocytes offered the highest diagnostic sensitivity and specificity and may constitute an easy screening method for the PNH defect. One PNH patient had a negative Ham's test at the time of study and normal or near normal levels of PI-bound proteins on erythrocytes, but reduced expression of DAF and FcRIII on granulocytes and DAF on monocytes. The analytical and biological coefficient of variation for flow cytometric estimation of PI-bound proteins was in the range of 4.8-13% and 12-24%, respectively. Blood samples should be analysed without delay, since storage produced spuriously high results. The results were expressed as molecules per cell after calibration with commercially available standards and validated by comparison with previously reported results obtained by other methods. It is proposed that this way of reporting flow cytometric results should be generally adopted to facilitate comparison of results between laboratories.