Background Several studies show the association between administration of tranexamic acid (ATX) in orthopaedic surgery and a decrease in transfusion requirement of patients. In January 2014, a protocol using this drug in knee and hip surgery was implemented in our hospital.
Purpose To analyse transfusion requirements in patients undergoing orthopaedic surgery who received ATX and their side effects.
Material and methods Prospective study of all patients undergoing knee or hip surgery from 1 January 2014 to 30 June 2015. Data recorded were: name, medical record number, age, date of admission and surgery, orthopaedic surgery type, preoperative haemoglobin and variations during hospital stay, transfusion requirements, discharge date, possible contraindications for administration of ATX (specified in the protocol of the hospital) and occurrence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) as a side effect.
Patients were obtained from the Traumatology Service database, while transfusion requirements were obtained from the Haematology Service registry.
Results Of the 272 patients undergoing one of the revised surgeries, 201 (73.9%) received ATX while the rest showed heart disease, previous stroke or blood disorders that contraindicated this use. 35.8% of patients who received it were men and 64.2% women, with an average age of 69.6 years. Most underwent knee arthroplasty (74.1%) and 25.9% hip arthroplasty. The average length of stay was 6.4 days (4–20 days) and the mean decrease in haemoglobin levels was 3.6 g/dL. In the group of patients receiving ATX, 19(9.5%) required transfusions and received a total of 33 packed red blood cells. In the group without ATX, 14 patients (19.7%) required administration of another 33 packed red blood cells. No patient developed DVT because of administration of ATX.
Conclusion Most patients undergoing knee or hip surgery in our centre have met the criteria for administration of ATX, and transfusion requirements were significantly lower in this group compared with patients who did not receive the drug. So far there has been no case of DVT associated with the use of ATX, so we can consider it as a relatively safe drug and cost effective because it is a low cost drug that reduces the requirements for packed red blood cells in this selected group of patients.
No conflict of interest.