The role of tranexamic acid (TXA) in reducing blood loss following primary shoulder arthroplasty has been demonstrated in small retrospective and controlled clinical trials. This study comprehensively evaluates current literature on the efficacy of TXA to reduce perioperative blood loss and transfusion requirements following shoulder arthroplasty.Methods:
PubMed, MEDLINE, CENTRAL, and Embase were searched from the database inception date through October 27, 2016, for all articles evaluating TXA in shoulder arthroplasty. Two reviewers independently screened articles for eligibility and extracted data for analysis. A methodological quality assessment was completed for all included studies, including assessment of the risk of bias and strength of evidence. The primary outcome was change in hemoglobin and the secondary outcomes were drain output, transfusion requirements, and complications. Pooled outcomes assessing changes in hemoglobin, drain output, and transfusion requirements were determined.Results:
Five articles (n = 629 patients), including 3 Level-I and 2 Level-III studies, were included. Pooled analysis demonstrated a significant reduction in hemoglobin change (mean difference [MD], −0.64 g/dL; 95% confidence interval [CI], −0.84 to −0.44 g/dL; p < 0.00001) and drain output (MD, −116.80 mL; 95% CI, −139.20 to −94.40 mL; p < 0.00001) with TXA compared with controls. TXA was associated with a point estimate of the treatment effect suggesting lower transfusion requirements (55% lower risk); however, the wide CI rendered this effect statistically nonsignificant (risk ratio, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.18 to 1.09; p = 0.08). Findings were robust with sensitivity analysis of pooled outcomes from only Level-I studies.Conclusions:
Moderate-strength evidence supports use of TXA for decreasing blood loss in primary shoulder arthroplasty. Further research is necessary to evaluate the efficacy of TXA in revision shoulder arthroplasty and to identify the optimal dosing and route of administration of TXA in shoulder arthroplasty.Level of Evidence:
Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.