A best evidence topic in thoracic surgery was written according to a structured protocol. The question addressed was 'Does tranexamic acid stop haemoptysis'? Altogether 49 papers were found using the reported search strategy, of which 13 represented the best evidence to answer the clinical question. The authors, journal, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes and results of these papers are tabulated. This consisted of one systematic review including a meta-analysis of two double-blind randomized controlled trials (RCTs), the two RCTs, one cohort study, two case-series and seven case reports. Main outcomes included bleeding time, bleeding volume and occurrence of thromboembolic complications after start of treatment. Based on results from the meta-analysis, no difference in remission of bleeding within 1 week was found between tranexamic acid (TA) and placebo groups (odds ratio 1.56, 95% CI: 0.44-5.46). However, overall bleeding time was significantly shorter for the TA group (weighted mean difference -19.47, 95% CI: -26.90, -12.03 h). In one RCT, TA reduced both the duration and the volume of bleeding compared with patients receiving placebo (both P < 0.0005). However, the other RCT failed to find a difference in bleeding time (P = 0.2). In these studies, no patient suffered from thromboembolic complications. Two case reports, however, describe development of pulmonary embolism during TA treatment. Several case reports on the use of TA for treatment of haemoptysis secondary to cystic fibrosis were found. In general, they suggest that TA may be a useful and well-tolerated medication for the treatment of intractable haemoptysis in this patient group. We conclude that limited research on the use of TA for treatment of haemoptysis exists. As aetiology of haemoptysis as well as length of treatment, dosage and form of TA administration varied between the studies, strong recommendations are difficult to give. Current best evidence, however, indicates that TA may reduce both the duration and volume of bleeding, with low risk of short-term thromboembolic complications, in patients with haemoptysis.
Keywords: Antifibrinolytic agents; Bleeding; Haemoptysis; Haemostasis; Review; Tranexamic acid.