Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 471, Issue 1, pp 150–154 | Cite as

Low Risk of Thromboembolic Complications With Tranexamic Acid After Primary Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty

  • Blake P. Gillette
  • Lori J. DeSimone
  • Robert T. Trousdale
  • Mark W. Pagnano
  • Rafael J. SierraEmail author
Symposium: Papers Presented at the Annual Meetings of the Knee Society



The use of antifibrinolytic medications in hip and knee arthroplasty reduces intraoperative blood loss and decreases transfusion rates postoperatively. Tranexamic acid (TXA) specifically has not been associated with increased thromboembolic (TE) complications, but concerns remain about the risk of symptomatic TE events, particularly when less aggressive chemical prophylaxis methods such as aspirin alone are chosen.


We determined whether the rate of symptomatic TE events differed among patients given intraoperative TXA when three different postoperative prophylactic regimens were used after primary THA and TKA.


We retrospectively reviewed 2046 patients who underwent primary THA or TKA and received TXA from 2007 to 2009. The three chemical regimens included aspirin alone, warfarin (target international normalized ratio, 1.8–2.2), and dalteparin. Primary outcome measures were venous TE events, including symptomatic deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), and arterioocclusive events, including myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular accident. Patients judged to be at high risk for TE due to recent cardiac stent placement or strong personal/family history of TE disease were excluded.


For aspirin, warfarin, and dalteparin, the rates of symptomatic DVT (0.35%, 0.15%, and 0.52%, respectively) and nonfatal PE were similar (0.17%, 0.43%, and 0.26%, respectively). There were no fatal PE. Among the three groups, we found no difference in the rates of symptomatic DVT or PE with or without stratification by ASA score.


A low complication rate was seen when using TXA as a blood conservation modality during primary THA and TKA with less aggressive thromboprophylactic regimens such as aspirin alone and dose-adjusted warfarin.

Level of Evidence

Level III, therapeutic study. See the Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.


Pulmonary Embolism Deep Vein Thrombosis International Normalize Ratio Tranexamic Acid Dalteparin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Hugh Smith MD, PhD, Christopher Duncan MD, and Michael Kelm MD, of the Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic, and Youlonda Loechler with the Mayo Clinic Joint Registry for their contributions to the collection and organization of patient data.


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Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Blake P. Gillette
    • 1
  • Lori J. DeSimone
    • 1
  • Robert T. Trousdale
    • 1
  • Mark W. Pagnano
    • 1
  • Rafael J. Sierra
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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