The PFA-100 (platelet function analyser) is a relatively new tool for the investigation of primary haemostasis. Recent studies have shown its utility in monitoring antiplatelet therapy (including aspirin) and as a screening tool for investigating possible von Willebrand disease (vWD) and various platelet disorders. More recently, the PFA-100 has been shown to be of value in monitoring DDAVP therapy in both vWD and platelet disorders. This paper reviews current findings, details the utility of the PFA-100 for some of these purposes, as well as reviewing analytical variables that may complicate the interpretation of results. The author highlights the benefits, as well as noting the limitations, of its use. Ultimately, the greatest strengths of the PFA-100 are its simplicity in use and excellent sensitivity to particular haemostatic disturbances such as vWD, platelet disorders and platelet-affecting medication. However, because it is thus a 'global' test system, this also creates a significant limitation, as the PFA-100 is not specific for, nor predictive of, any particular disorder. However, utilized appropriately, the PFA-100 can be considered a worthwhile addition to any haemostasis laboratory involved in the diagnosis or therapeutic-monitoring of bleeding disorders including vWD and platelet-dysfunctions. This review should be of value to both haemostasis scientists and clinical specialists.