Bleeding and thrombosis are major causes of morbidity and mortality in patients with myeloproliferative disorders. The significance of uncontrolled polycythemia as a risk factor for thrombosis in these patients has been established. However, the role of thrombocytosis in the pathogenesis of hemostatic complications remains controversial. Abnormalities of platelet function and prolongation of the bleeding time occur in a highly variable number of cases. Specific platelet defects that have been identified in the myeloproliferative defects include abnormal platelet morphology, acquired storage pool disease, platelet membrane abnormalities, and abnormal arachidonic acid metabolism. Causal relationships between any of these specific abnormalities and either bleeding or thrombosis have not been clearly established. The therapeutic efficacy of myelosuppression to reduce the platelet count in patients with thrombocytosis and the role of antiplatelet drugs in the myeloproliferative disorders are controversial issues.

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