A randomized trial of tranexamic acid in combination with cell salvage plus a meta-analysis of randomized trials evaluating tranexamic acid in off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting

Gavin J Murphy, Emilio Mango, Vincenzo Lucchetti, Francesco Battaglia, Donato Catapano, Chris A Rogers, Gianni D Angelini
Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2006, 132 (3): 475-80, 480.e1-8

OBJECTIVES: We sought to evaluate the effectiveness of tranexamic acid in off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting surgery, either when used in combination with mechanical cell salvage or when used alone.

METHODS: One hundred patients were randomized to either 2 g of tranexamic acid as an intravenous bolus before sternotomy or to placebo. Intraoperative and postoperative cell salvage was used in all patients. The primary end point was early postoperative blood loss (within 4 hours). To evaluate the efficacy of tranexamic acid in isolation, we also performed a meta-analysis of 4 randomized trials identified from a systematic literature search. The primary end point of the meta-analysis was red cell transfusion.

RESULTS: In our randomized trial patients in the tranexamic acid group had a significant reduction in early postoperative blood loss, (median difference, 50 mL; 95% confidence interval, 15-100 mL; P < .01); however, there was no reduction in the frequency of blood component transfusion. Patients in the placebo group received a significantly larger volume of autotransfused red cells (median difference, 120 mL; 95% confidence interval, 0-220 mL; P = .02). The meta-analysis demonstrated a significant reduction in red cell transfusions in patients receiving tranexamic acid compared with those receiving placebo (risk ratio, 0.48; 95% confidence interval, 0.24-0.97; P = .041). There was also a reduction in the frequency of any allogeneic blood component transfusion, as well as a highly significant reduction in postoperative blood loss, in patients receiving tranexamic acid (P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS: Tranexamic acid reduces blood loss and transfusion requirements in off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. A reduction in allogeneic blood transfusion was not evident in the presence of perioperative cell salvage. These data support the routine use of tranexamic acid in off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting surgery.

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