In the present work, we study the propagation of non-linear waves in an initially stressed thin elastic tube filled with an inviscid fluid. Considering the physiological conditions of the arteries, in the analysis, the tube is assumed to be subjected to a uniform inner pressure P-0 and an axial stretch ratio lambda(z). It is assumed that due to blood flow, a finite dynamical displacement field is superimposed on this static field and, then, the non-linear governing equations of the elastic tube are obtained. Using the reductive perturbation technique, the propagation of weakly non-linear waves in the longwave approximation is investigated. It is shown that the governing equations reduce to the Korteweg-deVries equation which admits a solitary wave solution. It is observed that the present model equations give two solitary wave solutions. The results are also discussed for some elastic materials existing in the literature. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd.