Although controversial, early administration of tranexamic acid (TXA) has been shown to reduce mortality in adult patients with major trauma. Tranexamic acid has also been successfully used in elective pediatric surgery, with significant reduction in blood loss and transfusion requirements. There are limited data to guide its use in pediatric trauma patients. We sought to determine the current practices for TXA administration in pediatric trauma patients in the United States.
A survey was conducted of all the American College of Surgeons-verified Level I and II trauma centers in the United States. The survey data underwent quantitative analysis.
Of the 363 Level I and II qualifying centers, we received responses from 220 for an overall response rate of 61%. Eighty of 99 verified pediatric trauma centers responded for a pediatric trauma center response rate of 81%. Of all responding centers, 148 (67%) reported they care for pediatric trauma patients, with an average of 513 pediatric trauma patients annually. The pediatric trauma centers report caring for an average of 650 pediatric trauma patients annually. Of all centers caring for pediatric trauma, 52 (35%) report using TXA, with the most common initial dosing being 15 mg/kg (68%). A follow-up infusion was utilized by 45 (87%) of the programs, most commonly dosed at 2 mg/kg/hr × 8 hr utilized by 24 centers (54%).
Although the clinical evidence for TXA in pediatric trauma patients is limited, we believe that consideration should be given for use in major trauma with hemodynamic instability or significant risk for ongoing hemorrhage. If available, resuscitation should be guided by thromboelastography to identify candidates who would most benefit from antithrombolytic administration. This represents a low-cost/low-risk and high-yield therapy for pediatric trauma patients.