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Semin Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2007 Dec;11(4):247-51. doi: 10.1177/1089253207311153.

Point-of-care platelet function testing.

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Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, London Health Sciences Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.


Cardiopulmonary bypass has unpredictably deleterious effects on platelet function. Patients with cardiovascular disease have treatments aimed at reducing platelet aggregation and are at risk of excessive bleeding during surgery. Transfusion of blood products, particularly platelets, probably causes increased morbidity and mortality. Conversely, patients with excessive platelet aggregation are at risk of thrombotic complications--undesirable outcomes in the context of myocardial revascularization and prevention of stroke. Platelet function is difficult to monitor. Laboratory tests take time, and the results are not immediately available. Point-of-care (POC) testing of platelet function should facilitate the clinical management of bleeding patients by rationalizing platelet transfusion and avoiding unnecessary transfusion. Furthermore, POC platelet function could alert the clinician to risks of excessive platelet activation and measure the efficacy of antiplatelet therapy. This article outlines some of the POC platelet function monitors available as well as their potential applications.

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