Hemostatic effects of tranexamic acid in elective thoracic aortic surgery: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study

Valter Casati, Luca Sandrelli, Giovanni Speziali, Giliola Calori, Maria Antonietta Grasso, Salvatore Spagnolo
Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2002, 123 (6): 1084-91

OBJECTIVE: We studied the hemostatic effects of tranexamic acid in patients undergoing elective surgery involving the thoracic aorta.

METHODS: In a double-blind, randomized fashion, 60 consecutive patients were assigned to two treatment groups: 30 patients (placebo group) received infusion of saline solution, and 30 (treatment group) received tranexamic acid (1 g before skin incision, an infusion of 400 mg/h during the operation, and 500 mg in the pump priming). Perioperative bleeding was considered as a primary outcome. Perioperative allogeneic transfusions, major thrombotic complications (myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, renal insufficiency), and surgical outcomes were also considered.

RESULTS: Patients treated with tranexamic acid showed significant reductions in postoperative bleeding, both in terms of the amount collected during the first 4 postoperative hours (median 307 mL, interquartile range 253-361 mL in the placebo group vs median 211 mL, interquartile range 108-252 mL in the treatment group, P =.002) and in terms of total bleeding (median 722 mL, interquartile range 574-952 mL in the placebo group vs median 411 mL, interquartile range 313-804 mL in the treatment group, P =.04). Consequently, the number of patients transfused differed significantly between groups (21 patients [72.4%] in the placebo group vs 13 [44.8%] in the treatment group, P =.033). Patients in the treatment group showed significant reductions in the total amount for the entire group of packed red cells transfused (13,500 mL in the treatment group vs 28,000 mL in the placebo group, P =.012) and in the total amount of allogeneic transfusions (23,400 mL in the treatment group vs 53,000 mL in the placebo group, P =.024). No differences in perioperative thrombotic complications were found.

CONCLUSIONS: In this initial series of patients undergoing thoracic aortic surgery, tranexamic acid appeared effective in reducing perioperative bleeding, with a significant reduction in the need for allogeneic transfusions and without any increased risk of thrombotic complications.

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