Platelet dysfunction after cardiopulmonary bypass contributes to microvascular bleeding and is associated with blood transfusion and resternotomy. Platelet count can be readily performed, but currently there are no standardised, reproducible, rapidly available platelet function tests. We studied platelet function as measured by multiple electrode platelet aggregometery (multiplate) and light transmission aggregometry in 44 patients undergoing routine coronary artery surgery. Platelet aggregation as measured by multiplate was reduced during and after cardiopulmonary bypass compared with baseline with evidence of partial recovery by the time of transfer to ITU. In patients transfused blood, platelet aggregation measured by multiplate was reduced during chest closure with adenosine diphosphate (18 U vs 29 U, p = 0.01) and thrombin receptor agonist peptide-6 agonist (65 U vs 88 U, p = 0.01) compared with patients not transfused. This suggests that multiplate, a new point of care analyser, can detect platelet dysfunction in this setting.