Efficacy and Safety of Tranexamic Acid in Major Non-Cardiac Surgeries at High Risk for Transfusion: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Tranexamic acid (TXA) reduces transfusion requirements in cardiac surgery and total hip and knee arthroplasty, where it has become standard of care. Our objective is to determine the efficacy and safety of TXA in other surgeries associated with a high risk for red blood cell (RBC) transfusion. We identified randomized controlled trials in Medline, Embase, CENTRAL, and CAB abstracts from inception to June 2019. We included trials evaluating intraoperative IV TXA in adult patients undergoing a non-cardiac and non-hip and knee arthroplasty surgeries at high-risk for RBC transfusion, defined as a baseline transfusion rate ≥5% in comparator arm. We assessed risk of bias using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. We used GRADE methodology to assess certainty of evidence. From 8565 citations identified, we included 69 unique trials, enrolling 6157 patients. TXA reduces both the proportion of patients transfused RBCs (relative risk (RR) 0.59; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.48 to 0.72; low certainty evidence) and the volume of RBC transfused (MD -0.51 RBC units; 95%CI -0.13 to -0.9 units; low certainty evidence) when compared to placebo or usual care. TXA was not associated with differences in deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, all-cause mortality, hospital length of stay, need for re-operation due to hemorrhage, myocardial infarction, stroke or seizure. In patients undergoing a broad range of non-cardiac and non-hip and knee arthroplasty surgeries at high risk for RBC transfusion, perioperative TXA reduced exposure to RBC transfusion. No differences in thrombotic outcomes were identified; however, summary effect estimates were limited by lack of systemic screening and short duration of follow-up.


  • Houston, Brett L
  • Uminski, Kelsey
  • Mutter, Thomas
  • Rimmer, Emily
  • Houston, Donald S
  • Menard, Chantalle E
  • Garland, Allan
  • Ariano, Robert
  • Tinmouth, Alan
  • Abou-Setta, Ahmed M
  • Rabbani, Rasheda
  • Neilson, Christine
  • Rochwerg, Bram
  • Turgeon, Alexis F
  • Falk, Jamie
  • Breau, Rodney H
  • Fergusson, Dean A
  • Zarychanski, Ryan

publication date

  • January 2020