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Anaesth Intensive Care. 2003 Oct;31(5):529-37.

Use of intravenous tranexamic acid to reduce allogeneic blood transfusion in total hip and knee arthroplasty: a meta-analysis.

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  • 1Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, North Shore Hospital, Takapuna, Auckland 1309, New Zealand.


Total hip or knee arthroplasty is associated with significant blood loss. Techniques such as the use of antifibrinolytics or desmopressin, or normovolaemic haemodilution have been used to reduce the need for allogeneic blood transfusion. Tranexamic acid has been used to reduce blood loss and transfusion requirement for total hip and knee arthroplasty, with variable results. This meta-analysis aims to evaluate whether intravenous tranexamic acid, when compared with placebo, reduces blood loss and transfusion requirement in total hip and knee joint replacement surgery and whether it might increase the risk of thromboembolic complications. The literature search was based on MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, and information from the pharmaceutical company that produces tranexamic acid (Pharmacia-Upjohn). We identified 15 clinical trials and 12 were considered suitable for detailed data extraction. Tranexamic acid reduces the proportion of patients requiring allogeneic blood transfusion (OR 0.16, 95% CI: 0.09-0.26), total amount of blood loss (WMD 460 ml, 95% CI: 274-626 ml), and the total number of units of allogeneic blood transfused (WMD 0.85 unit, 95% CI: 0.36-1.33). Tranexamic acid does not increase the risk of thromboembolic complications such as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, thrombotic cerebral vascular accident, or myocardial infarction (OR 0.98, 95% CI: 0.45-2.12). Intravenous tranexamic acid appears effective and safe in reducing allogeneic blood transfusion and blood loss in total hip and knee arthroplasty.

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