Platelets play a pivotal role in hemostasis
The main function of platelets is their contribution to hemostasis – the process that stops bleeding in the human body. When an injury occurs platelets are getting activated and stick to the injured vessel wall. By clumping with each other (“aggregation”) platelets form a plug which stops the bleeding. This process is called “primary hemostasis”. Together with the formation of a fibrin network (“secondary hemostasis”) a stable blood clot is formed, which also initiates tissue healing.
The role of platelets in bleeding and ischemic complications
Disorders of platelet function can lead to bleeding complications, e.g. during trauma, surgery or other invasive procedures. Platelets also play a significant role in the development of arterial thrombosis (myocardial infarction and stroke) which is the leading cause of death worldwide.
Platelet function diagnostics
many patients use drugs that inhibit platelet function for their therapy or prophylaxis of cardiovascular diseases. Platelet function diagnostics allows to check an adequate effect of the drugs in the individual patient. Before surgery, the adequate timing of discontinuation of antiplatelet drugs to restore platelet function, can be assessed by platelet function testing. In patients with a tendency to bleed the contribution of platelets to the clinical problem can be determined.