To evaluate the effect of low-dose aprotinin during cardiopulmonary bypass on platelet function and clinical hemostasis, 30 patients undergoing various cardiopulmonary bypass procedures employing bubble oxygenators were randomized to receive either low-dose aprotinin (2 × 106 KIU in the cardiopulmonary bypass priming solution, 15 patients [group A]) or placebo (15 patients [group B]). Blood samples were collected before and after cardiopulmonary bypass to assess platelet count and aggregation on extracellular matrix, which was studied by a scanning electron microscope. On a scale of 1 to 4 preoperative mean platelet aggregation grades were similar in both groups (3.8 ± 0.5 and 3.5 ± 0.5 for groups A and B, respectively). Postoperatively, platelet aggregation on extracellular matrix decreased slightly in group A (2.8 ± 1.3; p < 0.01) and significantly in group B (1.3 ± 0.5; p < 0.001). Eleven of the 15 patients in group A remained in aggregation grade 3 or 4 compared with none of the group B patients. Platelet count was similar in both groups preoperatively and postoperatively. Total 24-hour postoperative bleeding and blood requirement were lower in the aprotinin group (487 ± 121 mL and 2.3 ± 1.0 units) than in the placebo group (752 ± 404 mL and 6.8 ± 5.1 units; p < 0.01). These results show that the use of low-dose aprotinin during cardiopulmonary bypass provides improved postoperative hemostasis, which might be related to the protection of the platelet aggregating capacity.