Analysis of tranexamic acid usage in adult spinal deformity patients with relative contraindications: does it increase the risk of complications?



Complex spinal deformity surgeries may involve significant blood loss. The use of antifibrinolytic agents such as tranexamic acid (TXA) has been proven to reduce perioperative blood loss. However, for patients with a history of thromboembolic events, there is concern of increased risk when TXA is used during these surgeries. This study aimed to assess whether TXA use in patients undergoing complex spinal deformity correction surgeries increases the risk of thromboembolic complications based on preexisting thromboembolic risk factors.


Data were analyzed for adult patients who received TXA during surgical correction for spinal deformity at 21 North American centers between August 2018 and October 2022. Patients with preexisting thromboembolic events and other risk factors (history of deep venous thrombosis [DVT], pulmonary embolism [PE], myocardial infarction [MI], stroke, peripheral vascular disease, or cancer) were identified. Thromboembolic complication rates were assessed during the postoperative 90 days. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to assess thromboembolic outcomes in high-risk and low-risk patients who received intravenous TXA.


Among 411 consecutive patients who underwent complex spinal deformity surgery and received TXA intraoperatively, 130 (31.6%) were considered high-risk patients. There was no significant difference in thromboembolic complications between patients with and those without preexisting thromboembolic risk factors in univariate analysis (high-risk group vs low-risk group: 8.5% vs 2.8%, p = 0.45). Specifically, there were no significant differences between groups regarding the 90-day postoperative rates of DVT (high-risk group vs low-risk group: 1.5% vs 1.4%, p = 0.98), PE (2.3% vs 1.8%, p = 0.71), acute MI (1.5% vs 0%, p = 0.19), or stroke (0.8% vs 1.1%, p > 0.99). On multivariate analysis, high-risk status was not a significant independent predictor for any of the thromboembolic complications.


Administration of intravenous TXA during the correction procedure did not change rates of thromboembolic events, acute MI, or stroke in this cohort of adult spinal deformity surgery patients.





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Publication Info

Mullin, Jeffrey P, Mohamed AR Soliman, Justin S Smith, Michael P Kelly, Thomas J Buell, Bassel Diebo, Justin K Scheer, Breton Line, et al. (2024). Analysis of tranexamic acid usage in adult spinal deformity patients with relative contraindications: does it increase the risk of complications?. Journal of neurosurgery. Spine. pp. 1–8. 10.3171/2024.1.spine231098 Retrieved from

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Christopher Ignatius Shaffrey

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I have more than 25 years of experience treating patients of all ages with spinal disorders. I have had an interest in the management of spinal disorders since starting my medical education. I performed residencies in both orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire range of spinal disorders. My goal has been to find innovative ways to manage the range of spinal conditions, straightforward to complex. I have a focus on managing patients with complex spinal disorders. My patient evaluation and management philosophy is to provide engaged, compassionate care that focuses on providing the simplest and least aggressive treatment option for a particular condition. In many cases, non-operative treatment options exist to improve a patient’s symptoms. I have been actively engaged in clinical research to find the best ways to manage spinal disorders in order to achieve better results with fewer complications.

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