Perioperative bleeding remains a major concern to all clinicians caring for perioperative patients. Due to the theoretical risk of thromboembolic events associated with tranexamic acid (TXA) when administered intravenously, topical route of TXA has been extensively studied, but its safety and efficacy profile remain unclear in the literature. The primary aim of this review was to assess the effect of topical TXA on incidence of blood transfusion and mortality in adults undergoing surgery.
EMBASE, MEDLINE, CENTRAL, and ISI Web of Science were systematically searched from their inception until May 31, 2019.
Parallel-arm randomized controlled trials were included.
Seventy-one trials (7539 participants: orthopedics 5450 vs nonorthopedics 1909) were included for quantitative meta-analysis. In comparison to placebo, topical TXA significantly reduced intraoperative blood loss [mean difference (MD) −36.83 mL, 95% confidence interval (CI) −54.77 to −18.88, P < 0.001], total blood loss (MD −319.55 mL, 95% CI −387.42 to −251.69, P < 0.001), and incidence of blood transfusion [odds ratio (OR) 0.30, 95% CI 0.26–0.34, P < 0.001]. Patients who received topical TXA were associated with a shorter length of hospital stay (MD −0.28 days, 95% CI −0.47 to −0.08, P = 0.006). No adverse events associated with the use of topical TXA were observed, namely mortality (OR 0.78, 95% CI 0.45–1.36, P = 0.39), pulmonary embolism (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.27–1.93, P = 0.52), deep vein thrombosis (OR 1.07, 95% CI 0.65–1.77, P = 0.79), myocardial infarction (OR 0.79, 95% CI 0.21–2.99, P = 0.73), and stroke (OR 0.85, 95% CI 0.28–2.57, P = 0.77). Of all included studies, the risk of bias assessment was “low” for 20 studies, “unclear” for 26 studies and “high” for 25 studies.
In the meta-analysis of 71 trials (7539 patients), topical TXA reduced the incidence of blood transfusion without any notable adverse events associated with TXA in adults undergoing surgery.