Platelets play an important, but often under-recognized role in cardiovascular disease. For example, the normal response of the platelet can be altered, either by increased pro-aggregatory stimuli or by diminished anti-aggregatory substances to produce conditions of increased platelet activation/aggregation and occur in active cardiovascular disease states both on a chronic (e.g. stable angina pectoris) and acute basis (e.g. acute myocardial infarction). In addition, platelet hyperaggregability is also associated with the risk factors for coronary artery disease (e.g. smoking, hypertension, and hypercholesterolaemia). Finally, the utility of an increasing range of anti-platelet therapies in the management of the above disease states further emphasizes the pivotal role platelets play in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease. This paper provides a comprehensive overview of the normal physiologic role of platelets in maintain homeostasis, the pathophysiologic processes that contribute to platelet dysfunction in cardiovascular disease and the associated role and benefits of anti-platelet therapies.