Tranexamic acid to reduce head injury death in people with traumatic brain injury: the CRASH-3 international RCT
Health technology assessment (Winchester, England). 2021;25(26):1-76
BACKGROUND Tranexamic acid safely reduces mortality in traumatic extracranial bleeding. Intracranial bleeding is common after traumatic brain injury and can cause brain herniation and death. We assessed the effects of tranexamic acid in traumatic brain injury patients. OBJECTIVE To assess the effects of tranexamic acid on death, disability and vascular occlusive events in traumatic brain injury patients. We also assessed cost-effectiveness. DESIGN Randomised trial and economic evaluation. Patients were assigned by selecting a numbered treatment pack from a box containing eight packs that were identical apart from the pack number. Patients, caregivers and those assessing outcomes were masked to allocation. All analyses were by intention to treat. We assessed the cost-effectiveness of tranexamic acid versus no treatment from a UK NHS perspective using the trial results and a Markov model. SETTING 175 hospitals in 29 countries. PARTICIPANTS Adults with traumatic brain injury within 3 hours of injury with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of ≤ 12 or any intracranial bleeding on computerised tomography scan, and no major extracranial bleeding, were eligible. INTERVENTION Tranexamic acid (loading dose 1 g over 10 minutes then infusion of 1 g over 8 hours) or matching placebo. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Head injury death in hospital within 28 days of injury in patients treated within 3 hours of injury. Secondary outcomes were early head injury deaths, all-cause and cause-specific mortality, disability, vascular occlusive events, seizures, complications and adverse events. RESULTS Among patients treated within 3 hours of injury (n = 9127), the risk of head injury death was 18.5% in the tranexamic acid group versus 19.8% in the placebo group (855/4613 vs. 892/4514; risk ratio 0.94, 95% confidence interval 0.86 to 1.02). In a prespecified analysis excluding patients with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 3 or bilateral unreactive pupils at baseline, the results were 12.5% in the tranexamic acid group versus 14.0% in the placebo group (485/3880 vs. 525/3757; risk ratio 0.89, 95% confidence interval 0.80 to 1.00). There was a reduction in the risk of head injury death with tranexamic acid in those with mild to moderate head injury (166/2846 vs. 207/2769; risk ratio 0.78, 95% confidence interval 0.64 to 0.95), but in those with severe head injury (689/1739 vs. 685/1710; risk ratio 0.99, 95% confidence interval 0.91 to 1.07) there was no apparent reduction (p-value for heterogeneity = 0.030). Early treatment was more effective in mild and moderate head injury (p = 0.005), but there was no obvious impact of time to treatment in cases of severe head injury (p = 0.73). The risk of disability, vascular occlusive events and seizures was similar in both groups. Tranexamic acid is highly cost-effective for mild and moderate traumatic brain injury (base case of £4288 per quality-adjusted life-year gained). CONCLUSION Early tranexamic acid treatment reduces head injury deaths. Treatment is cost-effective for patients with mild or moderate traumatic brain injury, or those with both pupils reactive. FUTURE WORK Further trials should examine early tranexamic acid treatment in mild head injury. Research on alternative routes of administration is needed. LIMITATIONS Time to treatment may have been underestimated. TRIAL REGISTRATION Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN15088122, ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01402882, EudraCT 2011-003669-14, Pan African Clinical Trial Registry PACTR20121000441277. FUNDING The project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 25, No. 26. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information. In addition, funding was provided by JP Moulton Charitable Trust, Joint Global Health Trials (Medical Research Council, Department for International Development and the Wellcome Trust). This project was funded by the NIHR Global Health Trials programme.
Cost-effectiveness analysis of tranexamic acid for the treatment of traumatic brain injury, based on the results of the CRASH-3 randomised trial: a decision modelling approach
Adults with traumatic brain injury enrolled in the CRASH-3 trial (n=9127).
Tranexamic acid (TXA), (n= 4613).
Matching placebo (n= 4514).
The risk of head injury death was 18.5% in the TXA group versus 19.8% in the placebo group. In a pre-specified analysis excluding patients with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 3 or bilateral unreactive pupils at baseline, the results were 12.5% in the TXA group versus 14.0% in the placebo group. There was a reduction in the risk of head injury death with tranexamic acid in those with mild to moderate head injury, but in those with severe head injury there was no apparent reduction. Early treatment was more effective in mild and moderate head injury, but there was no obvious impact of time to treatment in cases of severe head injury. The risk of disability, vascular occlusive events and seizures was similar in both groups.
BMJ global health. 2020;5(9)
INTRODUCTION An estimated 69 million traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur each year worldwide, with most in low-income and middle-income countries. The CRASH-3 randomised trial found that intravenous administration of tranexamic acid within 3 hours of injury reduces head injury deaths in patients sustaining a mild or moderate TBI. We examined the cost-effectiveness of tranexamic acid treatment for TBI. METHODS A Markov decision model was developed to assess the cost-effectiveness of treatment with and without tranexamic acid, in addition to current practice. We modelled the decision in the UK and Pakistan from a health service perspective, over a lifetime time horizon. We used data from the CRASH-3 trial for the risk of death during the trial period (28 days) and patient quality of life, and data from the literature to estimate costs and long-term outcomes post-TBI. We present outcomes as quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and 2018 costs in pounds for the UK, and US dollars for Pakistan. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER) per QALY gained were estimated, and compared with country specific cost-effective thresholds. Deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were also performed. RESULTS Tranexamic acid was highly cost-effective for patients with mild TBI and intracranial bleeding or patients with moderate TBI, at £4288 per QALY in the UK, and US$24 per QALY in Pakistan. Tranexamic acid was 99% and 98% cost-effective at the cost-effectiveness thresholds for the UK and Pakistan, respectively, and remained cost-effective across all deterministic sensitivity analyses. Tranexamic acid was even more cost-effective with earlier treatment administration. The cost-effectiveness for those with severe TBI was uncertain. CONCLUSION Early administration of tranexamic acid is highly cost-effective for patients with mild or moderate TBI in the UK and Pakistan, relative to the cost-effectiveness thresholds used. The estimated ICERs suggest treatment is likely to be cost-effective across all income settings globally.