Tranexamic acid (TXA) is an antifibrinolytic agent with demonstrated efficacy in reducing blood loss when administered systemically. However, in patients with contraindications to systemic or intravenous TXA, topical TXA (tTXA) has been shown to reduce perioperative blood loss, with some studies suggesting equivalence compared to systemic TXA. However, these studies have been conducted in healthy cohorts without contraindications to systemic TXA. In the surgical management of adult spinal deformity (ASD), comorbid disease is commonly encountered and may preclude use of systemic TXA. In this subset of patients with ASD who have contraindications for systemic TXA, use of tTXA has not been reported.
The primary objective of this study was to conduct a systematic review on the use of tTXA in spine surgery and to present the authors’ initial experience with tTXA as a novel hemostatic technique for 2 patients with medically complex ASD. Both patients had contraindications to systemic TXA use and underwent high-risk, long-segment fusion operations for correction of ASD. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were used to obtain studies related to spine surgery and tTXA from the National Institutes of Health PubMed (www.pubmed.gov) database. Criteria for final selection included a demonstration of quantitative data regarding operative or postoperative blood loss with the use of tTXA, and selection criteria were met by 6 articles.
Topical TXA may offer a potential therapeutic role in reducing intra- and postoperative blood loss following long-segment spinal fusion surgeries, particularly for medically complex patients with contraindications to systemic TXA. It is reasonable to consider the use of tTXA as a salvage technique in complex high-risk patients with contraindications to systemic TXA, although further research is needed to delineate safety, magnitude of benefit, and optimization of dosing.