Tranexamic acid (TXA) is an antifibrinolytic drug that has achieved significant reduction in perioperative blood loss and the quantity of blood transfused in many pediatric surgical procedures, without morbidity. Despite the accumulation of evidence regarding its effectiveness in craniosynostosis repair surgery, TXA is not unanimously employed by pediatric neurosurgery teams. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of the routine use of TXA in a homogeneous population of children who underwent open surgery for monosutural craniosynostosis.
The authors retrospectively reviewed 3 cohorts of patients that were subdivided from 2 cohorts surrounding the initiation of TXA (group 1, TXA− [2008–2011] and group 2, TXA+ [2011–2013]) and a third cohort of more recent patients (group 3, TXA+ [2016–2017]). TXA was administered using the same protocol comprising a loading dose of 10 mg/kg over 15 minutes after induction of general anesthesia followed by a 10 mg/kg per hour infusion until skin closure. Patients in all 3 groups underwent similar standardized procedures for scaphocephaly, trigonocephaly, and unicoronal craniosynostosis by the same pediatric neurosurgeon.
Overall, 102 infants were included in the study: 32 infants in group 1, 36 in group 2, and 34 in group 3. Significant reductions in transfusion of packed erythrocytes (PE) and fresh-frozen plasma (FFP) were observed between the TXA− and TXA+ time periods. The median volume of PE transfusion was reduced by > 50% with the use of TXA (42.8 mL/kg in the TXA− group vs 20.0 in the TXA+ groups, p < 0.0001). Reduction in PE transfusion was 100% postoperatively in the TXA+ groups (20.0 mL/kg in the TXA− group vs 0.0 in the TXA+ groups, p < 0.0001). The median volume of FFP transfusion was reduced by 100% with the use of TXA (12.8 mL/kg in the TXA− group vs 0.0 in the TXA+ groups, p < 0.0001). All children in group 1 received a transfusion, whereas 3 children (8%) and 7 children (20%) in groups 2 and 3, respectively, did not. Significant reductions in postoperative drain output were also noted between the TXA− and TXA+ time periods. The total hospital length of stay was significantly lower in the TXA+ groups (p < 0.0001).
Use of TXA reduced blood loss and the need for transfusions but also decreased the hospital length of stay and, thus, minimized overall medical care costs. Intraoperative administration of TXA in craniosynostosis repair surgery should be routinely used in all centers that practice these procedures.