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The Use of Tranexamic Acid to Reduce Surgical Blood Loss

A Review Basic Science, Subspecialty Studies, and The Evolution of Use in Spine Deformity Surgery

Slattery, Casey, MD, BS; Kark, Jonathan, MD; Wagner, Theodore, MD; Verma, Kushagra, MD, MS

doi: 10.1097/BSD.0000000000000808
NARRATIVE REVIEW
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Significant blood loss is often seen in orthopedic surgeries, especially complex spinal procedures that constitute long surgical times, large incisions, and rich blood supplies. Tranexamic acid (TXA), a synthetic analog of the amino acid lysine, has proven to be a cost-effective method in decreasing transfusion rates and avoiding complications associated with low blood volume. Recent data on TXA’s use in spine surgery suggest that TXA remains both efficacious and safe, although the ideal dosing and timing of administration is still a point of disagreement. The purpose of this study is to review the literature for the use of TXA in spine surgery to better understand its safety profile and ideal dosage. This narrative review on TXA was conducted on prospective orthopedic studies that used TXA in spine deformity surgery. TXA in adult and pediatric spine surgery has decreased intraoperative and postoperative blood loss, decreasing the need for blood transfusions. The most common dose in the literature is a 10 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 1 mg/kg per hour. Although the proper dosing of TXA for spine surgery remains debatable, studies have proven that TXA is effective at reducing blood loss without increasing the risk of thrombotic events.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Casey Slattery, MD, BS, 1959 NE Pacific Street, Seattle, WA 98195 (e-mail: cslats@uw.edu).

Received March 29, 2018

Accepted November 26, 2018

© 2019 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.