OBJECTIVE: Abnormalities in the coagulation pathway are often included in the diagnostic work-up of stroke patients, especially in young adults with cryptogenic stroke. METHODS: Three common genetic variants within the coagulation cascade were investigated in 500 control subjects and in 167 patients with ischemic stroke defined by TOAST subclassification. Analysed variants were factor V Leiden, prothrombin 20210G-->A and factor XIII Val34Leu. RESULTS: The factor V Leiden mutation was over-represented in patients with cardioembolic stroke for trend, whereas the prothrombin 20210G-->A variant and the factor XIII polymorphism Val34Leu were not associated with stroke of any subtype. The three polymorphisms showed no association with stroke in subgroups of patients defined by age (<40, 40-49, 50-59, 60 years). DISCUSSION: This study suggests that the analysis of prothrombin 20210G-->A and factor XIII Val34Leu is not a useful diagnostic procedure in the work-up of ischemic stroke.