Blood behaviour under shear-stress is assessed by a filter method in the Caerphilly Prospective Heart Study. Associations with haemostatic and lifestyle factors in 941 men aged 55 to 69 years are reported. The importance of platelets in filter blockage is confirmed, and roles for white cells and plasma viscosity in determining flow prior to blockage are identified. The aspect of platelet activity involved in blockage appears to be independent of mechanisms mediated by cyclo-oxygenase and adenosine diphosphate. von Willebrand factor however is associated with filter blockage, probably as an inter-platelet ligand. Fibrinogen is not required for blockage. Men regularly consuming alcohol or garlic supplements show reduced blockage, and biochemical mechanisms are suggested which might explain these associations. No effects of aspirin, smoking or consumption of fish oil supplements were noted. Shear-induced filter blockage is a simple method for measuring complex flow-dependent interactions of haemostatic factors. Its application in a wide range of investigations, including epidemiological studies, would appear to be appropriate.