UNLABELLED Both acute normovolemic hemodilution (NVHD) and tranexamic acid (TA) are potentially useful allogeneic blood conservation strategies after total knee replacement. However, the relative efficacy of these blood-sparing techniques is unknown. Therefore, to compare the postoperative allogeneic blood sparing of NVHD and TA after total knee replacement, we investigated 40 patients in a prospective, single-blinded study protocol. In Group TA,
30 min before deflating the limb tourniquet, an IV infusion of TA, 15 mg/kg, was administered over a 30-min period. Thereafter, a constant IV infusion of 10 mg x kg(-1) x hr(-1) was administered until 12 h after deflation of the limb tourniquet. Before induction of anesthesia, NVHD patients were bled to a target hematocrit of approximately 28%. Intravascular blood volume was maintained with lactated Ringer's solution. All autologous blood was transfused at the end of the surgery. Postoperatively, hematocrit was measured daily. In all cases, a hematocrit <27% was the postoperative transfusion trigger. Before discharge, deep vein thrombosis was excluded by Echo Doppler. Three months after surgery, the incidence of delayed thromboembolic events was assessed. The two groups were demographically comparable. In Group NVHD, 843 mL+/-289 of autologous blood was removed. Despite autologous blood transfusion, during the early postoperative period and until the third postoperative day, the NVHD group had significantly (P < 0.01) lower mean hematocrits when compared with the TA group. Thereafter, because of a significantly (P < 0.0008) greater allogeneic blood requirement in the NVHD group, no statistically significant difference in mean hematocrit recordings was noted among the groups. Blood accumulation in the surgical drain 12 h postoperatively, was significantly (P < 0.0008) higher in the NVHD group (259 mL+/-156) when compared with the TA group (110 mL+/-62). Significantly (P < 0.0008) more allogeneic blood was transfused in the NVHD group (19 U/13 patients) when compared with the TA group (2 U/2 patients). No abnormal Echo Doppler studies were reported. During the 3-mo follow-up period, a deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus were documented in one patient in the NVHD group. We conclude that perioperative hemodynamic stability and allogeneic blood sparing is superior after tranexamic acid administration when compared with normovolemic hemodilution. IMPLICATIONS For total knee replacement, when compared with normovolemic hemodilution, tranexamic acid administration is associated with superior perioperative hemodynamic stability and allogeneic blood sparing.