Systemic hemostatic medications for reducing surgical blood loss

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38 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To review randomized trials involving the use of systemic hemostatic medications for reducing surgical blood loss. DATA SOURCES: Articles were obtained through searches of MEDLINE (1966-September 2000). The bibliographies of retrieved publications were reviewed for additional references. STUDY SELECTION: All randomized studies and pharmacoeconomic evaluations that involved medications used for systemic hemostasis in the perioperative period were included. DATA EXTRACTION: Randomized studies involving conjugated estrogens, aminocaproic acid, tranexamic acid, desmopressin, and aprotinin for systemic hemostasis were extracted. Studies of proton-pump inhibitors for upper gastrointestinal bleeding and octreotide for variceal bleeding were excluded, as were trials involving the use of any hemostatic agent for cardiovascular surgery. The primary outcome under review was a reduction in bleeding as defined by reduced transfusion requirements. DATA SYNTHESIS: There is limited efficacy and toxicity information concerning the use of conjugated estrogens for reducing surgery-related bleeding. Similarly, there are a limited number of randomized studies involving aminocaproic acid and tranexamic acid, and with the exception of tranexamic acid for reducing transfusion requirements with knee surgery, the study results are either conflicting or negative. For desmopressin, evidence from a substantial number of randomized trials documents its lack of efficacy. Aprotinin has reduced bleeding and transfusion requirements in a number of randomized studies involving patients undergoing orthopedic surgery, but cost-effectiveness studies are needed to better define its therapeutic role. Trials of aprotinin during hepatic surgery have yielded conflicting results. CONCLUSIONS: Most hemostatic medications used for reducing surgery-related bleeding have limited or contradictory evidence of efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)925-934
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 2001


  • Aminocaproic acid
  • Aprotinin
  • Desmopressin
  • Estrogens
  • Tranexamic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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