Tranexamic acid as part of remote damage-control resuscitation in the prehospital setting: a critical appraisal of the medical literature and available alternatives
The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. 2015;78((6 Suppl 1)):S70-5.
BACKGROUND Hemorrhage remains the leading cause of preventable trauma-associated mortality. Interventions that improve prehospital hemorrhage control and resuscitation are needed. Tranexamic acid (TXA) has recently been shown to reduce mortality in trauma patients when administered upon hospital admission, and available data suggest that early dosing confers maximum benefit. Data regarding TXA implementation in prehospital trauma care and analyses of alternatives are lacking. This review examines the available evidence that would inform selection of hemostatic interventions to improve outcomes in prehospital trauma management as part of a broader strategy of "remote damage-control resuscitation" (RDCR). METHODS The medical literature available concerning both the safety and the efficacy of TXA and other hemostatic agents was reviewed. RESULTS TXA use in surgery was studied in 129 randomized controlled trials, and a meta-analysis was identified. More than 800,000 patients were followed up in large cohort study. In trauma, a large randomized controlled trial, the CRASH-2 study, recruited more than 20,000 patients, and two cohort studies studied more than 1,000 war casualties. In the prehospital setting, the US, French, British, and Israeli militaries as well as the British, Norwegian, and Israeli civilian ambulance services have implemented TXA use as part of RDCR policies. CONCLUSION Available data support the efficacy and the safety of TXA. High-level evidence supports its use in trauma and strongly suggests that its implementation in the prehospital setting offers a survival advantage to many patients, particularly when evacuation to surgical care may be delayed. TXA plays a central role in the development of RDCR strategies.