The essential role of platelets in haemostasis underlies the relationship between platelet function and spontaneous or procedure-related bleeding, which has important prognostic implications. Although not routinely undertaken, platelet function testing offers the potential to tailor antiplatelet therapy for individual patients. However, uncertainties remain about how well platelet function testing may predict haemostasis and guide management of bleeding risk. Studies of aspirin, P2Y12 inhibitors and other antiplatelet drugs clearly demonstrate how inhibition of platelet function increases bleeding risk. More potent antiplatelet drugs are associated with higher bleeding rates, consistent with the levels of platelet inhibition achieved by these drugs. Studies of patients treated with clopidogrel, which is associated with wide inter-individual variation in antiplatelet effect, suggest that platelet function testing may predict bleeding risk related to coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery and potentially guide the timing of surgery following discontinuation of clopidogrel. Similarly, some studies have demonstrated a relationship between clopidogrel response and bleeding in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), although other studies have not supported this. Carriage of the *17 allele of cytochrome P450 2C19, which is associated with gain of function and enhanced response to clopidogrel, seems to be associated with increased bleeding risk, although studies showing lack of apparent effect of loss-of-function alleles provide contradictory evidence. Further large studies are needed to guide best practice in the application of platelet function testing in the clinical management of patients treated with antiplatelet drugs in order to optimise individual care.