Antifibrinolytic medications such as tranexamic acid, aprotinin, and aminocaproic acid have proven to be useful in decreasing blood loss and the proportion of patients who require transfusion after a number of surgical procedures. In orthopedic surgery, tranexamic acid (TXA) is the best studied of these medications and a recent Cochrane Database review determined that tranexamic acid was effective in decreasing perioperative bleeding and post-operative transfusion after elective hip replacement and knee replacement surgery. At Mayo Clinic Rochester, the routine administration of tranexamic acid has evolved over the past decade to become part of the typical protocol for more than 3,000 elective hip and knee replacement procedures each year. Recent administrative data provides fairly compelling evidence of the efficacy of tranexamic acid in decreasing transfusion at the Mayo Clinic Rochester practice with 2010 data showing 2% and 7% prevalence of transfusion in patients treated with tranexamic acid versus 18% and 33% prevalence in those knee and hip replacement patients, respectively, who were not treated with tranexamic acid. A recent analysis of the Mayo Clinic Rochester orthopedic practice showed that patients treated for hip fracture remain at substantial risk of perioperative transfusion (30% prevalence) after operative management. This raises the question as to whether tranexamic acid could improve the perioperative care of those patients treated surgically for hip fracture by decreasing the proportion of patients requiring transfusion and decreasing total perioperative bleeding.
Last updated: 10/30/2012