Hemostatic disorders in coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease patients were examined by studying two groups of prothrombotic and prethrombotic markers. Sixty subjects (28 male, 32 female aged 64 +/- 6 years) were included in the study of which 30 suffered from coronary heart disease and 30 from cerebral vascular disease; the first group was subdivided into those subjects with quiescent preinfarction angina (21 cases) and those with acute myocardial infarction (9 cases), whereas the second group was subdivided into subjects with cerebral stroke (20 cases) and those with TIA (10 cases). Each subject underwent an assay to assess fasting blood levels of fibrinogen, factor VII, antithrombin III (using a chromogenic method), plasminogen tissue activator, beta-thromboglobulin and dimer-D (ELISA method) 24 hours after being admitted to hospital. From an analysis of results it was observed that of the four prothrombotic markers used, fibrinogen and factor VII showed a generic increase in comparison to coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease patients; this was paralleled by significant reduction of antithrombin III; differences were even more marked and significant in acute thrombo-occlusive (infarction, stroke) compared to functional forms (angina, TIA). In line with other studies, the Authors favour an irritative type endothelial response leading to a marked and surprising increase of tPA. The two prothrombotic markers (BTG, D-D) also showed a thrombotic development in the two groups of patients examined with more significant findings in the occlusive forms (infarction, stroke) in comparison to transitory forms. On the basis of these and other published results the Authors confirm the usefulness of monitoring prothrombotic markers (fibrinogen, factor VII, AT III) in apparently normal subjects with or without risk factors or with slight initial signs of arteriosclerotic disease; these call for longitudinal or cross-sectional studies of an epidemiology type, in addition to isolated assay for a generic assessment of the patient's biological status, even if it is not yet possible to elaborate a protocol for the certain and specific diagnosis of a thrombophilic condition. The value of prethrombotic markers is apparent in the acute occlusive stage of the disease as a form of prognostic and therapeutic monitoring, and in preinfarction and above all silent transitory forms where, together with the use of other techniques (Holter), it provides interesting openings for confirming the diagnosis of an in vivo microthrombotic genesis and the consequent introduction of antithrombotic drug therapy.