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Anesth Analg. 2010 Feb 1;110(2):350-3. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3181c92b23. Epub 2009 Dec 8.

High-dose tranexamic Acid is associated with nonischemic clinical seizures in cardiac surgical patients.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, University Hospital-LHSC, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. john.murkin@lhsc.on.c



In 2 separate centers, we observed a notable increase in the incidence of postoperative convulsive seizures from 1.3% to 3.8% in patients having undergone major cardiac surgical procedures. These events were temporally coincident with the initial use of high-dose tranexamic acid (TXA) therapy after withdrawal of aprotinin from general clinical usage. The purpose of this review was to perform a retrospective analysis to examine whether there was a relation between TXA usage and seizures after cardiac surgery.


An in-depth chart review was undertaken in all 24 patients who developed perioperative seizures. Electroencephalographic activity was recorded in 11 of these patients, and all patients had a formal neurological evaluation and brain imaging studies.


Twenty-one of the 24 patients did not have evidence of new cerebral ischemic injury, but seizures were likely due to ischemic brain injury in 3 patients. All patients with seizures did not have permanent neurological abnormalities. All 24 patients with seizures received high doses of TXA intraoperatively ranging from 61 to 259 mg/kg, had a mean age of 69.9 years, and 21 of 24 had undergone open chamber rather than coronary bypass procedures. All but one patient were managed using cardiopulmonary bypass. No evidence of brain ischemic, metabolic, or hyperthermia-induced causes for their seizures was apparent.


Our results suggest that use of high-dose TXA in older patients in conjunction with cardiopulmonary bypass and open-chamber cardiac surgery is associated with clinical seizures in susceptible patients.

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