Measurement of whole blood thrombus formation using parallel-plate flow chambers - a practical guide

Roger Van Kruchten, Judith M. E. M. Cosemans, Johan W. M. Heemskerk*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Custom-made and commercial parallel-plate flow chambers are widely used for studies of platelet activation and thrombus formation in whole blood at defined shear rates. When used in a reproducible way, such flow chamber devices give valuable information on the thrombogenic potential of human, mouse, or rat blood. This article aims to provide a practical guide for the use of parallel-plate flow chambers in combination with routine microscopic imaging techniques. The following methodological aspects are addressed: preparation of surface coatings, calculation of blood flow and shear rate, control of pre-analytical variables, protocols for routine performing of flow chamber tests with non-coagulating or coagulating blood, and procedures for real-time and end-point analysis of thrombus formation. Frequently encountered experimental problems and artifacts are discussed, as well as possibilities for using flow chamber devices as a diagnostic tool to test antithrombotic medication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-242
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Flow chamber
  • thrombus formation
  • flow dynamics
  • shear stress
  • coagulation

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