Intraoperative use of tranexamic acid to reduce transfusion rate in patients undergoing radical retropubic prostatectomy: double blind, randomised, placebo controlled trial

BMJ. 2011 Oct 19;343:d5701. doi: 10.1136/bmj.d5701.


Objectives: To determine the efficacy of intraoperative treatment with low dose tranexamic acid in reducing the rate of perioperative transfusions in patients undergoing radical retropubic prostatectomy.

Design: Double blind, parallel group, randomised, placebo controlled trial.

Setting: One university hospital in Milan, Italy.

Participants: 200 patients older than 18 years and undergoing radical retropubic prostatectomy agreed to participate in the trial. Exclusion criteria were atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease treated with drug eluting stent, severe chronic renal failure, congenital or acquired thrombophilia, and known or suspected allergy to tranexamic acid.

Interventions: Intravenous infusion of tranexamic acid or equivalent volume of placebo (saline) according to the following protocol: loading dose of 500 mg tranexamic acid 20 minutes before surgery followed by continuous infusion of tranexamic acid at 250 mg/h during surgery.

Primary outcome: number of patients receiving blood transfusions perioperatively. Secondary outcome: intraoperative blood loss. Six month follow-up to assess long term safety in terms of mortality and thromboembolic events.

Results: All patients completed treatment and none was lost to follow-up. Patients transfused were 34 (34%) in the tranexamic acid group and 55 (55%) in the control group (absolute reduction in transfusion rate 21% (95% CI 7% to 34%); relative risk of receiving transfusions for patients treated with tranexamic acid 0.62 (0.45 to 0.85); number needed to treat 5 (3 to 14); P = 0.004). At follow-up, no patients died and the occurrence of thromboembolic events did not differ between the two groups.

Conclusions: Intraoperative treatment with low dose tranexamic acid is safe and effective in reducing the rate of perioperative blood transfusions in patients undergoing radical retropubic prostatectomy. Trial registration identifier NCT00670345.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antifibrinolytic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Blood Loss, Surgical / prevention & control*
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Care
  • Male
  • Prostatectomy / adverse effects*
  • Tranexamic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antifibrinolytic Agents
  • Tranexamic Acid

Associated data