Effect of tranexamic acid on blood loss, D-dimer, and fibrinogen kinetics in adult spinal deformity surgery

Ryan P. Pong, Jean Christophe A. Leveque, Alicia Edwards, Vijay Yanamadala, Anna K. Wright, Megan Herodes, Rajiv K. Sethi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: Antifibrinolytics such as tranexamic acid reduce operative blood loss and blood product transfusion requirements in patients undergoing surgical correction of scoliosis. The factors involved in the unrelenting coagulopathy seen in scoliosis surgery are not well understood. One potential contributor is activation of the fibrinolytic system during a surgical procedure, likely related to clot dissolution and consumption of fibrinogen. The addition of tranexamic acid during a surgical procedure may mitigate the coagulopathy by impeding the derangement in D-dimer and fibrinogen kinetics. Methods: We retrospectively studied consecutive patients who had undergone surgical correction of adult spinal deformity between January 2010 and July 2016 at our institution. Intraoperative hemostatic data, surgical time, estimated blood loss, and transfusion records were analyzed for patients before and after the addition of tranexamic acid to our protocol. Each patient who received tranexamic acid and met inclusion criteria was cohort-matched with a patient who underwent a surgical procedure without tranexamic acid administration. Results: There were 17 patients in the tranexamic acid cohort, with a mean age of 60.7 years, and 17 patients in the control cohort, with a mean age of 60.9 years. Estimated blood loss (932 ± 539 mL compared with 1,800 ± 1,029 mL; p = 0.005) and packed red blood-cell transfusions (1.5 ± 1.6 units compared with 4.0 ± 2.1 units; p = 0.001) were significantly lower in the tranexamic acid cohort. In all single-stage surgical procedures that met inclusion criteria, the rise of D-dimer was attenuated from 8.3 ± 5.0 mg/mL in the control cohort to 3.3 ± 3.2 mg/mL for the tranexamic acid cohort (p < 0.001). The consumption of fibrinogen was 98.4 ± 42.6 mg/dL in the control cohort but was reduced in the tranexamic acid cohort to 60.6 ± 35.1 mg/dL (p = 0.004). Conclusions: In patients undergoing spinal surgery, intravenous administration of tranexamic acid is effective at reducing intraoperative blood loss. Monitoring of D-dimer and fibrinogen during spinal surgery suggests that tranexamic acid impedes the fibrinolytic pathway by decreasing consumption of fibrinogen and clot dissolution as evidenced by the reduced formation of D-dimer. Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)758-764
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - American Volume
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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