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  • Guo J
  • Gao X
  • Ma Y
  • Lv H
  • Hu W
  • et al.
BMC Anesthesiol. 2019 Jul 15;19(1):129 doi: 10.1186/s12871-019-0772-0.

The efficacy of tranexamic acid (TXA) to reduce perioperative blood loss and allogeneic blood transfusion in cardiac surgeries has been proved in previous studies, but its adverse effects especially seizure has always been a problem of concern. This meta-analysis aims to provide information on the optimal dosage and delivery method which is effective with the least adverse outcomes.


We searched Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE and EMBASE for all relevant articles published before 2018/12/31. Inclusion criteria were adult patients undergoing elective heart surgeries, and only randomized control trials comparing TXA with placebo were considered. Two authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted relevant data.


We included 49 studies with 10,591 patients into analysis. TXA significantly reduced transfusion rate (RR 0.71, 95% CI 0.65 to 0.78, P<0.00001). The overall transfusion rate was 35%(1573/4477) for patients using TXA and 49%(2190/4408) for patients in the control group. Peri-operative blood loss (MD - 246.98 ml, 95% CI - 287.89 to - 206.06 ml, P<0.00001) and re-operation rate (RR 0.62, 95% CI 0.49 to 0.79, P<0.0001) were also reduced significantly. TXA usage did not increase risk of mortality, myocardial infarction, stroke, pulmonary embolism and renal dysfunction, but was associated with a significantly increase in seizure attack (RR 3.21, 95% CI 1.04 to 9.90, P = 0.04).The overall rate of seizure attack was 0.62%(21/3378) for patients using TXA and 0.15%(5/3406) for patients in the control group. In subgroup analysis, TXA was effective for both on-pump and off-pump surgeries. Topical application didn't reduce the need for transfusion requirement, while intravenous delivery no matter as bolus injection alone or bolus plus continuous infusion were effective. Intravenous high-dose TXA didn't further decrease transfusion rate compared with low-dose regimen, and increased the risk of seizure by 4.83 times. No patients in the low-dose group had seizure attack.


TXA was effective in reducing transfusion requirement in all kinds of cardiac surgeries. Low-dose intravenous infusion was the most preferable delivery method which was as effective as high-dose regimen in reducing transfusion rate without increasing the risk of seizure.