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mdash;: The platelet, once thought to be solely involved in clot formation, is now known to be a key mediator in various others processes such as inflammation, thrombosis, and atherosclerosis. Supported by the wealth of evidence from clinical trials demonstrating their benefits in patient outcomes, antiplatelet agents have become paramount in the prevention and management of various diseases involving the cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and peripheral arterial systems. Despite being among the most widely used and studied classes of medical therapies, new discoveries regarding important clinical aspects and properties of these agents continue to be made. As our understanding of platelet biology expands, more effective and safer novel therapies continue to be developed. The use of more refined agents in conjunction with a better understanding of their effects will further the ability to provide more optimized care on an individual basis.

(C) 2007 American Heart Association, Inc.