BMC Musculoskeletal DisordersBMC series – open, inclusive and trusted 2018 19:85

Comparison of oral versus intra-articular tranexamic acid in enhanced-recovery primary total knee arthroplasty without tourniquet application: a randomized controlled trial

Duan Wang, Hui Zhu, Wei-Kun Meng, Hao-Yang Wang, Ze-Yu Luo, Fu-Xing Pei, Qi LiEmail author & Zong-Ke Zhou


Although randomized controlled trials have confirmed oral tranexamic acid (TXA) can provide similar blood-sparing efficacy compared with intravenous (IV) TXA in total knee arthroplasty (TKA), some concerns do remain about thromboembolic events after such systemic administration. Many studies have confirmed that intra-articular (IA) application of TXA can show similar blood-saving efficacy with minimal levels of systemic absorption compared with IV TXA. However, it remains unclear whether the efficacy and safety of oral TXA administration is equal to or less than that of IA administration in TKA without the use of a tourniquet and drain. Thus, this study was to verify non-inferior efficacy and safety of oral TXA compared with IA TXA in primary TKA.


A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial was performed to compare three oral doses of TXA (2 g of TXA 2 h before incision, and 1 g of TXA 6 and 12 h after surgery, respectively) with IA TXA (3 g of TXA in 100 mL of saline solution). One hundred forty-seven patients scheduled for TKA were randomized to one of the two interventions. The primary outcome was total blood loss. The secondary outcomes included reduction of hemoglobin concentration, clinical outcomes, blood coagulation values, thromboembolic complications, and transfusion rates.


The mean total blood loss was 788.8 mL in the oral TXA group compared with 872.4 mL in the IA TXA group, with no statistical significance (p > 0.05). There were no significant differences in reduction of hemoglobin level, blood coagulation level, and clinical outcomes. The transfusion rates were 4% in oral group and 5% IA group, respectively. Also, no significant differences were identified in thromboembolic complications.


Oral TXA according to the described protocol demonstrated non-inferiority for primary TKA, with no safety concerns and a greatly reduced cost, compared with the IA TXA. This randomized controlled trial supports the oral administration of TXA in TKA.

Trial registration

The trial was registered in the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry (ChiCTR-INR-17010968) dated 23rd March 2017.

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