The PFA-100 is a device that simulates high shear dependent platelet function in vitro and thus is particularly useful for screening for von Willebrand's disease (VWD). The aim of this study was to assess the overall potential of the PFA-100 as a primary clinical screening tool using the wide spectrum of clinical samples assessed for platelet function within our institution. The PFA-100 test was performed using both collagen/ADP (CADP) and collagen/epinephrine (CEPI) cartridges on samples from 337 patients with a wide variety of haemostatic defects. One hundred and eighty-two patients were defined as having normal platelet function based on classical laboratory tests and von Willebrand factor levels. The overall clinical sensitivity of the PFA-100 for platelet abnormalities (including VWD) was 81% for CADP and 86% for CEPI. The overall specificity was found to be 82% for CADP and 80% for CEPI. When utilizing both cartridges in combination (with both results either higher or lower than the upper cutoff of the normal ranges), the overall false positive and false negative rates were 12% and 6%, respectively. The PFA-100 proved to be sensitive in detecting classical defects by giving prolonged closure times in samples from patients with major platelet function defects (e.g. von Willebrand's disease, Glanzmann's thrombasthenia and Bernard Soulier syndrome). However, there were a small number of false negative results (6%) obtained with various milder platelet defects (e.g. Hermansky Pudlak syndrome, storage pool and release defects, type I VWD and macrothrombocytopenia). The PFA-100 test provides a useful rapid screening tool and should increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of the routine diagnosis of platelet dysfunction.