Thromboembolic Complications Following Perioperative Tranexamic Acid Administration

J Surg Res. 2024 Jan:293:676-684. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2023.08.048. Epub 2023 Oct 13.


Introduction: The antifibrinolytic tranexamic acid (TXA) may reduce death in trauma; however, outcomes associated with TXA use in patients without proven hyperfibrinolysis remain unclear. We analyzed the associations of empirically administered TXA, hypothesizing that TXA use would correlate to lower transfusion totals but increased thromboembolic complications.

Methods: This retrospective cohort study compared trauma patients started on massive transfusion protocol at a Level I trauma center from 2016 to 2021 who either did or did not receive TXA. Our primary outcome was in-hospital mortality. Venous thromboembolism (VTE; pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis), transfusion volumes, and coagulation measures were considered secondarily. Descriptive statistics, univariate analyses, and multivariable logistic regression were used to evaluate differences in outcomes.

Results: TXA patients presented with lower systolic blood pressure (100 versus 119.5 mmHg, P = 0.009), trended toward higher injury severity (ISS of 25 versus 20, P = 0.057), and were likelier to have undergone thoracotomy or laparotomy (89 versus 71%, P = 0.002). After adjusting for age, mechanism, presenting vitals, and operation, TXA was not significantly associated with mortality or VTE. TXA patients had larger volumes of packed red blood cells, platelets, and plasma transfused within 4- and 24-h (P ≤ 0.002). No differences in clot stability, captured via thromboelastography, were noted.

Conclusions: Despite no differences in mortality or VTE between patients who did and did not receive TXA, there were significant differences in transfusion totals. TXA patients had worse presenting physiology and likely had more severe bleeding. This absence of adverse outcomes supports TXA's safety. Nevertheless, further inquiry into the precise mechanism of TXA may help guide its empiric use, allowing for more targeted application.

Keywords: Fibrinolysis; Perioperative tranexamic acid; Tranexamic acid; Trauma induced coagulopathy; Venous thromboembolism.

MeSH terms

  • Antifibrinolytic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Blood Loss, Surgical
  • Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tranexamic Acid* / adverse effects
  • Venous Thromboembolism* / chemically induced
  • Venous Thromboembolism* / prevention & control


  • Tranexamic Acid
  • Antifibrinolytic Agents