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Tranexamic acid in head and neck procedures: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials



We conducted a meta-analysis of all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the benefits of tranexamic acid (TXA) among cancer patients undergoing head and neck (H&N) procedures.


We screened five databases from inception until 20 June 2021 and evaluated the risk of bias of the eligible studies. We pooled continuous outcomes using the weighted mean difference (WMD) with 95% confidence interval (CI).


Five studies, comprising seven RCTs, met the inclusion criteria. This meta-analysis included a total of 540 patients; 265 and 275 patients were assigned to the TXA and control group, respectively. Overall, the included RCTs revealed a low risk of bias. The volume of postoperative bleeding was significantly lower in favor of the TXA group compared with the control group (n = 7 RCTs, WMD = − 51.33 ml, 95% CI [− 101.47 to − 1.2], p = 0.04). However, no significant difference was found between both groups regarding the volume of intraoperative bleeding (n = 6 RCTs, WMD = − 3.48 ml, 95% CI [− 17.11 to 10.15], p = 0.62), postoperative hemoglobin (n = 3 RCTs, WMD = 0.42 mg/dl, 95% CI [− 0.27 to 1.11], p = 0.23), duration of drainage tube removal (n = 4 RCTs, MD = − 0.41 days, 95% CI [− 1.14 to 0.32], p = 0.27), and operation time (n = 6 RCTs, WMD = 1.59 min, 95% CI [− 10.09 to 13.27], p = 0.79). TXA was safe and did not culminate in thromboembolic events or major coagulation derangements.


TXA administration is safe and significantly reduces the volume of postoperative bleeding. However, no difference is identified between TXA and control groups regarding the volume of intraoperative bleeding, postoperative hemoglobin level, duration of drainage tube removal, and operation time.

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HMA and AA contributed to study supervision, study design, study conception, data analysis, literature review, and manuscript writing. SS, KAP, MAA, MA, SFA, and KHA DM contributed to literature review, data collection, and manuscript revision. All authors revised manuscript for editorial and intellectual contents. All authors read and approved the final draft of manuscript and agreed to be held responsible for data integrity.

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Correspondence to Hemail M. Alsubaie.

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Alsubaie, H.M., Abu-Zaid, A., Sayed, S.I. et al. Tranexamic acid in head and neck procedures: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol (2021).

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  • Tranexamic acid
  • Bleeding
  • Blood transfusion
  • Head and neck
  • Meta-analysis