Platelets play a central role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerois and thrombosis. Platelet adhesion and aggregate formation are critical events that occur in unstable coronary syndromes. Platelet activation precedes the formation of homotypic and heterotypic aggregates. In the last 10 years, researchers have described the presence of activated platelets in the systemic circulation in various cardiovascular disease states, particularly acute coronary syndromes. This review describes the evidence for platelet activation in acute myocardial ischemic syndromes, describes the pathophysiology responsible for its occurrence, and discusses how platelet activation and reactivity may affect the use of concomitant drug therapies and patient prognosis.