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Tranexamic Acid Has No Effect on Postoperative Hemarthrosis or Pain Control After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Using Bone–Patellar Tendon–Bone Autograft: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Controlled Trial

Published:January 30, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arthro.2021.01.037

      Purpose

      The purpose of this double-blind, randomized, controlled trial was to evaluate the use of intravenous (IV) tranexamic acid (TXA) in patients undergoing primary bone–patellar tendon–bone (BPTB) anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) regarding postoperative hemarthrosis, pain, opioid consumption, and quadriceps atrophy and activation.

      Methods

      A controlled, randomized, double-blind trial was conducted in 110 patients who underwent ACLR with BPTB autograft. Patients were equally randomized to the control and experimental groups. The experimental group received two 1-g boluses of IV TXA, one prior to tourniquet inflation and one prior to wound closure; the control group did not receive TXA. If a clinically significant hemarthrosis was evident, the knee was aspirated and the volume of blood (in milliliters) was recorded. Additionally, we recorded perioperative blood loss (in milliliters); visual analog scale scores on postoperative days 1, 4, and 7 and at postoperative weeks 1, 6, and 12; postoperative opioid consumption on postoperative days 1, 4, and 7; range of motion (ROM) and ability to perform a straight leg raise at postoperative weeks 1, 6, and 12; and preoperative and postoperative thigh circumference ratio.

      Results

      There was no significant difference in perioperative blood loss between the TXA and control groups (32.5 mL vs 35.6 mL, P = .47). In the TXA group, 23 knees were aspirated; in the control group, 26 knees were aspirated (P = .56). No significant difference in postoperative hemarthrosis volume was seen in patients who received IV TXA versus those who did not (26.7 mL vs 37.3 mL, P = .12). There was no significant difference in visual analog scale scores between the 2 groups (P = .15); in addition, there was no difference in postoperative opioid consumption (P = .33). No significant difference in ROM, ability to perform a straight leg raise, or postoperative thigh circumference ratio was observed (P > .05 for all).

      Conclusions

      IV TXA in patients who undergo ACLR with BPTB autograft does not significantly impact perioperative blood loss, postoperative hemarthrosis, or postoperative pain levels. Additionally, no significant differences were seen in early postoperative recovery regarding ROM or quadriceps reactivation.

      Level of Evidence

      Level I, randomized controlled trial.
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