Tranexamic Acid Use in Prehospital Uncontrolled Hemorrhage

Benjamin R Huebner, Warren C Dorlac, Chris Cribari
Wilderness & Environmental Medicine 2017, 28 (2S): S50-S60
The use of tranexamic acid (TXA) in the treatment of trauma patients was relatively unexplored until the landmark Clinical Randomisation of an Antifibrinolytic in Significant Haemorrhage-2 (CRASH-2) trial in 2010 demonstrated a reduction in mortality with the use of TXA. Although this trial was a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study incorporating >20,000 patients, numerous limitations and weaknesses have been described. As a result, additional studies have followed, delineating the potential risks and benefits of TXA administration. A systematic review of the literature to date reveals a mortality benefit of early (ideally <1 hour and no later than 3 hours after injury) TXA administration in the treatment of severely injured trauma patients (systolic blood pressure <90 mm Hg, heart rate >110). Combined with abundant literature showing a reduction in bleeding in elective surgery, the most significant benefit may be administration of TXA before the patient goes into shock. Those trials that failed to show a mortality benefit of TXA in the treatment of hemorrhagic shock acknowledged that most patients received blood products before TXA administration, thus confounding the results. Although the use of prehospital TXA in the severely injured trauma patient will become more clear with the trauma studies currently underway, the current literature supports the use of prehospital TXA in this high-risk population. We recommend considering a 1 g TXA bolus en route to definitive care in high-risk patients and withholding subsequent doses until hyperfibrinolysis is confirmed by thromboelastography.

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