Background: Surgical correction of craniosynostosis in children is associated with substantial intraoperative bleeding. Tranexamic acid (TXA) decreases intraoperative blood loss during cardiac or orthopedic surgery in children. We hypothesized that intraoperative TXA would reduce blood transfusion relative to placebo in patients pretreated with erythropoietin.
Methods: Forty consecutive children, American Society of Anesthesiologists status 1 or 2, scheduled to undergo surgical correction of craniosynostosis were randomly assigned to receive either intravenous TXA or saline, 0.9%, intraoperatively. All children received preoperative erythropoietin (600 U/kg once a week for 3 weeks before surgery). Perioperative blood loss, number and volume of transfusions, percentage of children who underwent transfusion, and side effects were noted after surgery and at the end of the study. Surgeon satisfaction and cost of treatment were also recorded.
Results: There was no significant difference between groups in demographic or surgical data. In the TXA group, the volume of packed erythrocytes transfused was significantly reduced by 85% (from 11 to 1.6 ml/kg) intraoperatively and by 57% (from 16.6 to 7.2 ml/kg) throughout the study period (P < 0.05). Compared with the placebo group, the percentage of children requiring blood transfusion was lower in the TXA group during surgery (9 [45%] of 20 vs. 2 [11%] of 19 children; P < 0.05) and during the whole study period (14 [70%] of 20 vs. 7 [37%] of 19; P < 0.05). Preoperative and postoperative hematologic parameters were comparable in both groups. There were no adverse events.
Conclusion: In children undergoing surgical correction of craniosynostosis and pretreated with erythropoietin, intraoperative TXA reduces the transfusion requirement.