Blood loss is a potential cause of morbidity and mortality in craniosynostosis surgery. Recent reports have suggested that the use of tranexamic acid (TXA), an antifibrinolytic agent, mitigates this blood loss. A comprehensive systematic review and subsequent meta-analysis was undertaken, with the view to clarify the effectiveness of TXA in reducing blood loss and transfusion requirements in craniosynostosis surgery. Medline and PubMed databases were searched using the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses technique, and 7003 articles were assessed based on predefined selection criteria. Seven trials were identified, of which 2 were randomized controlled trials and the remainder retrospective cohort studies. All trials were assessed using the Jadad and strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology scores. The meta-analysis found a clear statistical reduction in blood loss in those patients who received TXA perioperatively, with a combined blood loss reduction of 7.06 ml/kg (95% confidence interval -8.97 to -5.15, P < 0.00001). The blood loss reduction was found to extrapolate to a reduction in perioperative transfusion requirements by 8.47 ml/kg in this cohort (95% confidence interval -10.9 to -6.04, P < 00001). There were no TXA-related adverse outcomes recorded in the 258 patients who received TXA across all trials. The trials included in this meta-analysis were limited by underpowered population sizes and significant heterogeneity in blood loss recording techniques. Further, there was significant heterogeneity amongst operations performed. The current literature appears to support the use of TXA in craniosynostosis surgery, but further high quality randomized controlled trials are indicated, ideally including a subgroup analysis between the operations performed.
Copyright © 2021 by Mutaz B. Habal, MD.