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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Fundamentals of Hemostasis. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Primary Hemostasis – The Vascular System & Platelet Involvement

As discussed earlier, a break in the vessel endothelium leads to exposure of collagen and the vessel's subendothelial surface. Ruptured endothelial cells leak ADP and Serotonin, which are the chemical triggers that induce platelet adhesion, the next step in the sequence of hemostatic events. Circulating platelets are drawn to the area by those liberated chemical signals, and begin to physically attach themselves to the rough, damaged surfaces of the breach.

As platelets continue to arrive and bind to the exposed collagen and basement membrane, a rudimentary barrier begins to form, as the platelets themselves serve to fill in the breached vessel wall. Platelets possess an inherent “sticky” property which enables them to adhere to one another, and not just to the damaged vessel endothelium. The process by which platelets bind to one another is referred to as platelet aggregation, and is vital because it allows for a platelet plug to be formed.
The platelet plug is the structure responsible for plugging the hole in the vessel wall.