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The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 93-B, Issue 12 | Pages 1577 - 1585
1 Dec 2011
Alshryda S Sarda P Sukeik M Nargol A Blenkinsopp J Mason JM

We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials evaluating the effect of tranexamic acid (TXA) upon blood loss and transfusion in primary total knee replacement. The review used the generic evaluation tool designed by the Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group. A total of 19 trials were eligible: 18 used intravenous administration, one also evaluated oral dosing and one trial evaluated topical use. TXA led to a significant reduction in the proportion of patients requiring blood transfusion (risk ratio (RR) 2.56, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.1 to 3.1, p < 0.001; heterogeneity I2 = 75%; 14 trials, 824 patients). Using TXA also reduced total blood loss by a mean of 591 ml (95% CI 536 to 647, p < 0.001; I2 = 78%; nine trials, 763 patients). The clinical interpretation of these findings is limited by substantial heterogeneity. However, subgroup analysis of high-dose (> 4 g) TXA showed a plausible consistent reduction in blood transfusion requirements (RR 5.33; 95% CI 2.44 to 11.65, p < 0.001; I2 = 0%), a finding that should be confirmed by a further well-designed trial. The current evidence from trials does not support an increased risk of deep-vein thrombosis (13 trials, 801 patients) or pulmonary embolism (18 trials, 971 patients) due to TXA administration.