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Tranexamic Acid Does Not Reduce the Risk of Transfusion in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Undergoing Total Joint Arthroplasty


Arthroplasty. 2020 Apr 18;S0883-5403(20)30383-1.doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2020.04.029.Online ahead of print.

Kyle W Morse 1, Nicole K Heinz 1, Jeremy M Abolade 1, Joshua I Wright-Chisem 1, Linda A Russell 2, Meng Zhang 3, Serene Z Mirza 2, Dana E Orange 4, Mark P Figgie 1, Peter K Sculco 1, Susan M Goodman 2

Author Information

1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY.

2 Department of Rheumatology, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY.

3 Feinstein Institute, Northwell Health, Manhasset, NY.

4 Department of Rheumatology, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY; Laboratory of Molecular Neurooncology, Rockefeller University, New York, NY.


Background: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) receive transfusions more often than patients with osteoarthritis following lower extremity total joint arthroplasty (TJA), but mitigating factors are not described. Tranexamic acid (TXA) is widely used to reduce blood loss in patients undergoing TJA, but its effect on transfusion rates in patients with RA has not been studied.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed data from a prospectively collected cohort of patients with RA undergoing TJA. Disease activity measured by Clinical Disease Activity Index, patient-reported outcome measures, and serologies was obtained. Baseline characteristics were summarized and compared. Transfusion requirements and TXA usage were obtained from chart review. Logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with transfusion in RA patients undergoing TJA.

Results: The cohort included 252 patients, mostly women with longstanding RA and end-stage arthritis requiring TJA. In multivariate analysis, 1 g/dL decrease in baseline hemoglobin (odds ratio [OR] = 0.394, 95% confidence interval [CI] [0.232, 0.669], P = .001), 1-minute increase in surgical duration (OR = 1.022, 95% CI [1.008, 1.037], P = .003), and 1-point increase in Clinical Disease Activity Index (OR = 1.079, 95% CI [1.001, 1.162]) were associated with increased risk of transfusion. TXA use was not associated with decreased risk of postoperative transfusion.

Conclusions: Preoperative health optimization should include assessment and treatment of anemia in RA patients before TJA, as preoperative hemoglobin level is the main risk factor for postoperative transfusion. Increased disease activity and increased surgical time were independent risk factors for postoperative transfusion but are less modifiable. While TXA did not decrease transfusion risk in this population, a prospective trial is needed to confirm this.