Aims: Platelet function testing forms an important part of the laboratory investigation of a bleeding tendency; however, little standardisation and quality control is available for these tests. A UK National External Quality Assessment Scheme (UK NEQAS) for Blood Coagulation exercise sought to identify current practice among laboratories performing platelet function tests.
Methods: A questionnaire was circulated in March 2006 to establish the current status of platelet function testing practice among participants of UK NEQAS. Participants were asked specifically about practice in bleeding time testing, PFA-100 analyser use, platelet aggregometry methodology and additional tests of platelet function.
Results: 169 returned questionnaires revealed that 26 centres used bleeding time, the PFA-100 analyser and platelet aggregometry in their investigations; 13 used bleeding time and the PFA-100 only; 33 used bleeding time and platelet aggregometry; and 23 used the PFA-100 with platelet aggregometry. 58 centres reported that they performed only bleeding times in their investigations, 10 reported use of the PFA-100 only, and 6 reported use of aggregometry only. Marked variability was observed in methodology for each of these tests, and in many cases no form of quality control was employed.
Conclusions: The data confirmed the lack of standardisation in methodology employed in different centres. Updated guidelines and standardisation of platelet function assessment are required to facilitate comparability between centres.
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Competing interests: None.