Effect of epsilon aminocaproic acid on red-cell transfusion requirements in major spinal surgery

Sean M. Berenholtz, Julius Cuong Pham, Elizabeth Garrett-Mayer, Christine W. Atchison, John P. Kostuik, David B. Cohen, Shantanu Nundy, Todd Dorman, Paul M. Ness, Michael J. Klag, Peter J. Pronovost, Khaled M. Kebaish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Study Design: Randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of epsilon aminocaproic acid (EACA) to reduce the number of red-cell (RBC) transfusions in adult patients undergoing major spinal surgery. Summary of Background Data: Reconstructive spinal surgery is associated with significant blood loss. The number of studies evaluating the efficacy of EACA in adult patients undergoing spinal surgery remains scarce and limited. Methods: EACA (100 mg/kg) or placebo was administered to 182 adult patients after the induction of anesthesia followed by an infusion that was continued for 8 hours after surgery. Primary end points included total allogeneic RBC transfusions through postoperative day 8 and postoperative allogeneic plus autologus RBC transfusions through postoperative day 8. Results: Mean total allogeneic RBC transfusions were not statistically different between the groups (5.9 units EACA vs. 6.9 units placebo; P = 0.17). Mean postoperative RBC transfusions in the EACA group was less (2.0 units vs. 2.8 units placebo; P = 0.03). There was no significantdifference in mean estimated intraoperative estimated-blood loss (2938 cc EACA vs. 3273 cc placebo; P = 0.32). Mean intensive care unit length of stay was decreased (EACA: 1.8 days vs. 2.8 days placebo; P = 0.04). The incidence of thromboembolic complications was similar (2.2% EACA vs. 6.6% placebo; P = 0.15). Conclusion: The difference in total allogeneic RBC transfusions between the groups was not statistically significant. EACA was associated with a 30% (0.8 units) reduction in postoperative RBC transfusions and a 1-day reduction in ICU LOS, without an increased incidence of thromboembolic events. EACA may be c nsidered for patients undergoing major spinal surgery. Larger studies are needed to evaluate the relationship between EACA and total RBC requirements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2096-2103
Number of pages8
Issue number19
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Antifibrinolytic agents
  • Blood transfusions
  • Orthopedic procedures
  • Randomized controlled trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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