Clinical utility of the PFA-100

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The PFA-100 (platelet function analyzer) is a relatively new tool for the investigation of primary hemostasis. This article reviews the history of the PFA-100 and details its clinical utility in several settings. The PFA-100 was first introduced to us in 1995 in an issue of Seminars in Thrombosis And Hemostasis, which included data from a field trial headed by Dr. Eberhard Mammen. Since that time, the PFA-100 has featured in nearly 500 publications and some 35 reviews. The PFA-100 has potential utility in monitoring antiplatelet therapy (including aspirin) and as a screening tool for investigating possible von Willebrand disease (VWD) and various platelet disorders. The PFA-100 also has potential value for monitoring DDAVP (desmopressin) therapy in both VWD and functional platelet disorders. Most recent attention has focused on sensitivity to antiplatelet medication, where a new language has also emerged, with researchers talking about "aspirin resistance," "aspirin responsiveness," and "aspirin nonresponsiveness." Ultimately, the greatest strengths of the PFA-100 are its simplicity in use and excellent sensitivity to various hemostatic disturbances. However, because it is a "global" test system for primary hemostasis, this also creates a significant limitation because the PFA-100 is not specific for, nor predictive of, any particular disorder. However, used appropriately, the PFA-100 can be considered a worthwhile addition to hemostasis laboratories involved in the identification or therapeutic monitoring of primary hemostatic disorders. The potential future applications for this simple instrument are also briefly assessed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-33
Number of pages25
JournalSeminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008


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