A Single Preoperative Dose of Tranexamic Acid Reduces Perioperative Blood Loss: A Meta-analysis

Ann Surg. 2021 Jan 1;273(1):75-81. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000003793.


Objective: To review the efficacy and safety of a single dose of intravenous tranexamic acid (TXA) given preoperatively.

Summary background data: TXA is a synthetic antifibrinolytic that has been used in various surgical disciplines to reduce blood loss, blood transfusions, ecchymosis, and hematoma formation. However, there is no universal standard on the most effective dose and route of TXA administration, limiting its routine use in many centers. This study evaluates the current evidence for the efficacy and safety of a single preoperative dose of TXA on surgical blood loss in all surgical disciplines.

Methods: With the guidance of a research librarian, in accordance with the Cochrane Handbook Medline, Cochrane Central and Embase were searched in November 2018. Search terms included "Tranexamic Acid" AND "Intravenous," with studies limited to randomized controlled trails in adult humans. Two independent reviewers and an arbitrator assessed articles for inclusion. Criteria included a single preoperative bolus dose of intravenous TXA, surgical patients, and intraoperative blood loss measurement or perioperative blood loss up to 24 hours postsurgery. Quality assessment was done using the Cochrane Collaboration risk-of-bias tool by 2 reviewers. Statistical analysis was carried out using Cochrane Review Manager 5.3. The primary outcome was surgical blood loss. Secondary outcomes included venous thromboembolic complications, transfusion requirements, and dosing.

Results: A total of 1906 articles were screened, 57 met inclusion criteria. The majority of included studies were orthopedic (27), followed by obstetric and gynecological (16), oral maxillofacial and otolaryngology (10), cardiac (3), and 1 plastic surgery study focusing on acute burn reconstruction. Across all surgical specialties (n = 5698), the perioperative estimated blood loss was lower in patients receiving TXA, with a standard mean difference of -153.33 mL (95% CI = -187.79 to -118.87). Overall, surgical patients with TXA had a 72% reduced odds of transfusion (odds ratio = 0.28 [95% CI = 0.22-0.36]). The most frequently used dose of TXA was 15 mg/kg. There was no difference in the incidence of venous thromboembolic events between TXA and control groups.

Conclusions: While there is a growing body of evidence to support benefits of perioperative TXA use, this is the first meta-analysis to identify the efficacy and safety of a single preoperative dose of IV TXA. The potential implications for expanding the use of preoperative TXA for elective day surgery procedures is substantial. Preoperative intravenous TXA reduced perioperative blood loss and transfusion requirements in a variety of surgical disciplines without increasing the risk of thromboembolic events. Therefore, it should be considered for prophylactic use in surgery to reduce operative bleeding.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Antifibrinolytic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Blood Loss, Surgical / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Preoperative Care* / methods
  • Tranexamic Acid / administration & dosage*


  • Antifibrinolytic Agents
  • Tranexamic Acid