Tranexamic acid reduces blood transfusion in total knee arthroplasty even when a blood conservation program is applied

Transfusion. 2008 Mar;48(3):519-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2007.01564.x. Epub 2007 Dec 7.


Background: In total knee arthroplasty surgery, a blood conservation program is applied as a normal clinical practice to avoid allogenic transfusions. The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of tranexamic acid to reduce transfusions in total knee replacement even when a blood conservation program is applied.

Study design and methods: In a double-blind prospective study the patients scheduled for total knee arthroplasty were included in a well-established blood conservation program and then randomly assigned into two groups: In tranexamic acid group, 10 mg per kg ev bolus followed by 1 mg per kg per hour perfusion was administered, while in the control group, saline was given matching the protocol.

Results: Ninety-five patients were included (tranexamic acid group, 46; control group, 49). Thirty-three patients (34.7%) underwent preoperative procedures to reduce transfusions: presurgical autologous blood donation (12), recombinant erythropoietin (6), and elementary iron (15); postoperative drain for reinfusion was allocated in all the cases. Total blood loss on the fourth postoperative day was [mean (+/-SD)] 1744 (+/-804) mL in controls compared with 1301 (+/-621) mL in the tranexamic acid group (p < 0.05). Eleven units of blood were transfused (6 patients) in the control group versus one in the tranexamic acid group (p < 0.05). Only 2 patients (4%) in the tranexamic acid group received reinfusion of blood recovered by drains compared with 36 (73%) in the control group (p < 0.0001). No thromboembolic complications were detected.

Conclusion: Tranexamic acid reduces blood losses and transfusion requirements even when a blood conservation program was used and it questions the usefulness of the postoperative reinfusion drains.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antifibrinolytic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antifibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee*
  • Blood Loss, Surgical / prevention & control
  • Blood Transfusion*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Preoperative Care / methods
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tranexamic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Tranexamic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antifibrinolytic Agents
  • Tranexamic Acid