Epsilon Aminocaproic Acid's Safety and Efficacy in Pediatric Surgeries Including Craniosynostosis Repair: A Review of the Literature

Cureus. 2022 May 21;14(5):e25185. doi: 10.7759/cureus.25185. eCollection 2022 May.


Craniosynostosis, the premature fusion of skull sutures in children, requires surgical correction. This procedure routinely requires allogeneic blood transfusions, which are associated with multiple risks of their own. Since 2008, antifibrinolytics tranexamic acid (TXA) and epsilon aminocaproic acid (EACA or Amicar) have been widely used. There is literature comparing the two agents in scoliosis and cardiothoracic surgery, but the literature comparing the two agents in pediatric craniofacial surgery (CF) is limited. Tranexamic acid use is more common in pediatric CF surgery and has been thoroughly studied; however, it costs about three times as much as EACA and has been associated with seizures. This study compiles the literature assessing the safety and efficacy of EACA in reducing blood loss and transfusion volumes in children and explores its potential use in pediatric CF surgery. Papers from 2000 to 2021 regarding the effectiveness and safety of EACA in Pediatric scoliosis, cardiothoracic, and craniosynostosis surgery were reviewed and compiled. Papers were found via searching PubMed and Cochrane databases with the key terms: Epsilon aminocaproic acid, EACA, Amicar, Tranexamic acid, TXA, craniosynostosis, scoliosis, cardiothoracic, and pediatric. Prospective studies, retrospective studies, and meta-analyses were included. Twenty-nine papers were identified as pertinent from the literature searched. Four were meta-analyses, 14 were retrospective, and 11 were prospective. Of these papers, seven were of cardiac surgery, 12 were of scoliosis, and nine were of craniosynostosis. During our search, EACA has been shown to consistently reduce blood transfusion volumes compared to control. However, it is not as effective when compared to TXA. EACA has a similar safety profile to TXA but has a reduced risk of seizures. There are not many studies of EACA in craniosynostosis repair, but the existing literature shows promising results for EACA's efficacy and safety, warranting more studies.

Keywords: amicar; blood loss; craniofacial surgery; craniosynostosis; eaca; epsilon aminocaproic acid; pediatric; transfusion.

Publication types

  • Review