The effect of intravenous tranexamic acid on blood loss and early post-operative pain in total shoulder arthroplasty

Bone Joint J. 2017 Aug;99-B(8):1073-1079. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.99B8.BJJ-2016-1205.R1.


Aims: The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the impact of intravenous tranexamic acid on the reduction of blood loss, transfusion rate, and early post-operative clinical outcome in total shoulder arthroplasty.

Patients and methods: A randomised, placebo-controlled trial which included 54 patients undergoing unilateral primary stemless anatomical or stemmed reverse total shoulder arthroplasty was undertaken. Patients received either 100 ml saline (placebo, n = 27), or 100 ml saline together with 1000 mg of tranexamic acid (TXA, n = 27) intravenously prior to skin incision and during wound closure. Peri-operative blood loss via an intra-articular drain was recorded and total blood loss was calculated. The post-operative transfusion rate was documented. Assessment of early clinical parameters included the visual analogue scale for pain (VAS), documentation of haematoma formation and adverse events.

Results: Mean peri-operative blood drainage (placebo: 170 ml versus TXA: 50 ml, p = 0.001) and calculated mean total blood loss (placebo: 1248.2 ml versus TXA: 871.0 ml, p = 0.009) were significantly lower in the TXA group. No transfusions were necessary during the study period in either group. Mean VAS for pain significantly decreased from pre-operative (VAS 7) to the early post-operative period (VAS 1.7, p < 0.001). Significant differences regarding mean post-operative pain between placebo (VAS 2.0) and TXA (VAS 1.3) were detected (p = 0.05). The occurrence of haematomas was significantly more frequent in the placebo (59.3%, n = 16) than in the TXA group (25.9%, n = 6, p = 0.027). Whereas only mild haematomas developed in the TXA group, in the placebo group a total of 22.2% (n = 6) developed either moderate or severe haematomas. No adverse events associated with administration of TXA occurred.

Conclusion: Intravenous administration of TXA successfully reduced mean peri-operative blood drainage, total estimated blood loss, pain during the first post-operative days, and haematoma formation in total shoulder arthroplasty. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2017;99-B:1073-9.

Keywords: Blood loss; Haematocrit; Haemoglobin; Reverse shoulder arthroplasty; Shoulder arthroplasty; Tranexamic acid.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravenous
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antifibrinolytic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Shoulder / methods*
  • Blood Loss, Surgical / prevention & control*
  • Blood Transfusion / statistics & numerical data
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Tranexamic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antifibrinolytic Agents
  • Tranexamic Acid