From the Journals

Tranexamic acid does not increase complications in high-risk joint replacement surgery patients



A study has found that administering tranexamic acid (TXA) to high-risk patients undergoing total joint arthroplasty (TJA) does not increase their odds of adverse outcomes.

“The inclusion of high-risk patients in our study increases the generalizability of our findings and is consistent with the previous studies that showed no increase in complications when TXA is administered to TJA patients,” wrote Steven B. Porter, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and coauthors. The study was published in the Journal of Arthroplasty.

To determine the safety of TXA in patients at risk for thrombotic complications, the researchers investigated 38,220 patients who underwent total knee or total hip arthroplasty between 2011 and 2017 at the Mayo Clinic. Of those patients, 20,501 (54%) patients received TXA during their operation and 17,719 (46%) did not. Overall, 8,877 were classified as “high-risk” cases, which meant they had one or more cardiovascular disease or thromboembolic event before surgery.

After multivariable analysis, high risk-patients who received TXA had no significant difference in adverse outcome odds, compared with high-risk patients who did not receive TXA (odds ratio, 1.00; 95% confidence interval, 0.85-1.18). After 90 days, high-risk patients who did not receive TXA were more likely than those who received TXA to experience deep vein thrombosis (2.3% vs 0.8%, P less than .001), pulmonary embolism (1.7% vs 1.0%, P less than .001), cerebrovascular accident (0.8% vs. 0.4%, P less than .001), or death (0.5% vs. 0.4%, P less than .001).

The authors noted their study’s limitations, including a higher baseline incidence of risk factors in high-risk patients who did not receive TXA, compared with high-risk patients who did, which could have led to that group being “self-selected” to not receive TXA. In addition, all medical histories and rates of complications were based on ICD codes, which may have been inaccurate and therefore led to mischaracterized risk or miscoded postoperative complications.

The study was funded by the Mayo Clinic’s Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery. No conflicts of interest were reported.

SOURCE: Porter SB et al. J Arthroplasty. 2019 Aug 17. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2019.08.015.

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