The PFA-100 provides a simple global measure of high shear-dependent platelet function, and as such is not diagnostic or specific to any disorder. Prolonged closure times must be interpreted in conjunction with a full blood count, von Willebrand factor (VWF) screen and other platelet tests. The PFA-100 may also give false negative results with relatively common platelet defects. If clinical suspicion is high, further detailed platelet function testing and VWF screening are required to exclude abnormal platelet function, even if the PFA-100 is normal. In more recent studies the PFA-100 has been used for preoperative identification and management of surgical patients with haemostatic defects and for assessing the clinical effectiveness of platelet transfusion therapy. This review highlights the up to date, evidence-based, advantages and disadvantages of the PFA-100 test in the investigation and management of haemostatic disorders in both children and adults.