Use of tranexamic acid results in decreased blood loss and decreased transfusions in patients undergoing staged bilateral total knee arthroplasty

Transfusion. 2014 Jan;54(1):26-30. doi: 10.1111/trf.12167. Epub 2013 Mar 22.


Background: Tranexamic acid (TXA) is an antifibrinolytic that reduces blood loss and transfusion rates in total joint arthroplasty. Blood loss and allogenic transfusion rates have not been well studied in patients receiving TXA and undergoing bilateral staged total knee arthroplasty (TKA). The purpose was to evaluate the effect of TXA on blood loss, hemoglobin (Hb) changes, and transfusion in patients undergoing staged bilateral TKA.

Study design and methods: The authors compared 51 patients undergoing staged bilateral TKA who received TXA (2 g; subjects) with 70 who did not (controls). There were no significant differences between the groups in terms of demographics or preoperative Hb. For each TKA, 1 g of TXA was administered intravenously 15 minutes before incision and 1 g was administered intravenously at tourniquet release. Blood loss, Hb levels, and transfusions were recorded. Statistical analyses were performed using computer software. Significance was set at 0.05.

Results: Subjects had a significantly lower (p < 0.001) mean (±SD) blood loss (373.8 ± 264.6 mL vs. 871.6 ± 457.7 mL), significantly higher (p < 0.005) Hb levels on Postoperative Days 1 and 2, and a significantly lower (p < 0.001) mean (±SD) number of transfused allogenic blood units (0.60 ± 0.84 units vs. 1.53 ± 1.30 units).

Conclusions: TXA reduces blood loss, improves postoperative Hb, and decreases the allogenic blood transfusion requirements for patients undergoing bilateral staged TKA. TXA is an option for patients choosing bilateral staged TKA to decrease the risks associated with blood transfusion or when autologous blood is not available.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antifibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / adverse effects*
  • Blood Transfusion / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Hemorrhage / prevention & control*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tranexamic Acid / therapeutic use*


  • Antifibrinolytic Agents
  • Tranexamic Acid