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Tranexamic acid (TA) is widely used by orthopedic surgeons to decrease blood loss and the need for transfusion following total hip arthroplasty (THA). Although both intravenous and topical applications are described in the literature, there remains no consensus regarding the optimal regimen, dosage and method of delivery of TA during THA. In addition, concerns still exist regarding the risk of thromboembolic events with intravenous administration. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to compare the efficacy and safety of topical versus intravenous administration of TA in THA. A systemic review of the electronic databases PubMed, CENTRAL, EMBASE and Google Scholar was undertaken to identify all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the topical and intravenous administration of TA during THA, in terms of total blood loss, rate of blood transfusion and incidence of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) post-operatively. A meta-analysis was performed to evaluate and compare the efficacy and safety of both methods of administration. Of 248 potentially relevant papers, three RCTs comprising (482) were eligible for data extraction and metaanalysis. The results showed a slightly higher amount of blood loss [Mean Difference (MD) – 46.37, P=0.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) – 12.54 to 105.29] and rate of transfusion (Risk Ratio 1.30, P=0.39, 95%CI 0.71 to 2.37) postoperatively in the topical TA group, but both did not reach statistical significance. There were 3 cases (1.2%) of DVT/PE in the intravenous group and one case (0.4%) in the topical group. Topical TA is an effective and safe method to reduce blood loss and the rate of transfusion following primary THA. It has comparative effectiveness to IV administration with slightly less post-operative thromboembolic complications. Larger and better-designed RCTs are required to establish the optimum dosage and regimen for topical use.
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