The effect of intravenous tranexamic acid on blood loss and early post-operative pain in total shoulder arthroplasty

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The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the impact of intravenous tranexamic acid on the reduction of blood loss, transfusion rate, and early post-operative clinical outcome in total shoulder arthroplasty.

Patients and Methods

A randomised, placebo-controlled trial which included 54 patients undergoing unilateral primary stemless anatomical or stemmed reverse total shoulder arthroplasty was undertaken. Patients received either 100 ml saline (placebo, n = 27), or 100 ml saline together with 1000 mg of tranexamic acid (TXA, n = 27) intravenously prior to skin incision and during wound closure. Peri-operative blood loss via an intra-articular drain was recorded and total blood loss was calculated. The post-operative transfusion rate was documented. Assessment of early clinical parameters included the visual analogue scale for pain (VAS), documentation of haematoma formation and adverse events.


Mean peri-operative blood drainage (placebo: 170 mlversusTXA: 50 ml, p = 0.001) and calculated mean total blood loss (placebo: 1248.2 mlversusTXA: 871.0 ml, p = 0.009) were significantly lower in the TXA group. No transfusions were necessary during the study period in either group. Mean VAS for pain significantly decreased from pre-operative (VAS 7) to the early post-operative period (VAS 1.7, p < 0.001). Significant differences regarding mean post-operative pain between placebo (VAS 2.0) and TXA (VAS 1.3) were detected (p = 0.05). The occurrence of haematomas was significantly more frequent in the placebo (59.3%, n = 16) than in the TXA group (25.9%, n = 6, p = 0.027). Whereas only mild haematomas developed in the TXA group, in the placebo group a total of 22.2% (n = 6) developed either moderate or severe haematomas. No adverse events associated with administration of TXA occurred.


Intravenous administration of TXA successfully reduced mean peri-operative blood drainage, total estimated blood loss, pain during the first post-operative days, and haematoma formation in total shoulder arthroplasty.

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