Previous studies suggest elevated factor VIII is a common, independent risk factor for venous thromboembolism (VTE); however, these studies included secondary and idiopathic VTE. We sought to explore the association between elevated factor VIII and VTE in Canadian patients with idiopathic thrombosis, and confirm the current upper factor VIII reference range was appropriate. We enrolled 300 consecutive patients with idiopathic VTE who were matched to friend controls by age, sex and ethnicity. Factor VIII levels were measured and compared between cases and controls. The optimal cut-off value to designate factor VIII levels as elevated was determined using a variety of methods. The optimal upper cut-off value for factor VIII levels was 270 IU/dl. In the logistic regression analysis, cases were more likely to have elevated factor VIII levels (OR:8.76), as were females (OR:1.93) and older subjects (OR: 1.05). Factor VIII cutoffs for a 95% specificity by age were 238 IU/dl for subjects 70. Our findings confirm that elevated factor VIII is associated with an increased risk of idiopathic VTE. In our patients and matched controls, the current upper limit of normal (150 IU/dl) for factor VIII is not of clinical use. We propose that the upper limit be increased to 270 IU/dl or individual labs should establish their upper limit if they wish their assays to be discriminatory in patients with VTE. Age specific cut-offs may be clinically relevant.