Flow cytometry enables studies of several different aspects of platelet function in response to a variety of platelet agonists. This can be done using only a small volume of whole blood, and also in blood with low platelet counts. These properties, together with the increasing number of flow cytometers available in hospitals worldwide, make flow cytometry an interesting option for laboratories interested in studies of platelet function in different clinical settings. This review focuses on practical issues regarding the use of flow cytometry for platelet function testing. It provides an overview of available activation markers, platelet agonists, and experimental setup issues. The review summarizes previous experience and factors important to consider to perform high-quality platelet function testing by flow cytometry. It also discusses its current use and possibilities and challenges for future use of flow cytometry in clinical settings.
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