Tranexamic acid in total shoulder arthroplasty and reverse shoulder arthroplasty: a systematic review and meta-analysis

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2018 Feb 17;19(1):60. doi: 10.1186/s12891-018-1972-3.


Background: The effects of tranexamic acid (TXA) in the setting of shoulder arthroplasty are unclear. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of TXA in reducing the need for blood transfusions and blood loss in patients undergoing primary total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA) and reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RTSA).

Methods: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and retrospective cohort studies (RCS) that compared outcomes of patients who did and did not receive TXA during TSA or RTSA. We searched Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, and MEDLINE for relevant studies. We assessed the risk of bias of the included studies and calculated pooled risk estimates. The primary outcome was transfusion rate, and secondary outcomes were changes in hemoglobin, estimated total blood loss (ETBL), blood loss via drainage, operative time, hospital stay, overall complications, and thromboembolic events.

Results: We identified 3 RCTs and 3 RCS including 677 patients with 680 shoulders (343 TXA and 337 non-TXA). The random-effects model meta-analysis showed that TXA group had a lower transfusion rate (risk ratio (RR) 0.34, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.79), less change in hemoglobin (mean difference (MD) -0.64 g/dl, 95% CI -0.81 to - 0.46), and reduced ETBL (MD -249.24 ml, 95% CI -338.74 to - 159.74). In patients with RTSA, the TXA group had a lower transfusion rate (RR 0.28, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.79), less ETBL (MD -249.15 ml, 95% CI -426.60 to - 71.70), less change in hemoglobin (MD - 0.64 g/dl, 95% CI -0.86 to - 0.42), and less blood loss via drainage (MD - 84.56 ml, 95% CI -145.72.14 to - 23.39) than non-TXA group.

Conclusions: The use of TXA in primary shoulder arthroplasty appears safe, and can reduce transfusion rate, changes in hemoglobin, and perioperative total blood loss, especially in patients with RTSA.

Level of evidence: Systematic Review and meta-analysis, III.

Keywords: Blood loss; Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty; Total shoulder arthroplasty; Tranexamic acid; Transfusion.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antifibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Shoulder / adverse effects
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Shoulder / methods
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Shoulder / trends*
  • Blood Loss, Surgical / prevention & control*
  • Blood Transfusion / trends
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods
  • Tranexamic Acid / therapeutic use*


  • Antifibrinolytic Agents
  • Tranexamic Acid