Effect of tranexamic acid administration on acute traumatic coagulopathy in rats with polytrauma and hemorrhage

Xiaowu Wu*, Avi Benov, Daniel N. Darlington, Jeffrey D. Keesee, Bin Liu, Andrew P. Cap

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Trauma and hemorrhagic shock can lead to acute traumatic coagulopathy (ATC) that is not fully reversed by prehospital resuscitation as simulated with a limited volume of fresh whole blood (FWB) in a rat model. Tranexamic Acid (TXA) is used as an anti-fibrinolytic agent to reduce surgical bleeding if administered prior to or during surgery, and to improve survival in trauma if given early after trauma. It is not clear from the existing clinical literature whether TXA has the same mechanism of action in both settings. This study sought to explore the molecular mechanisms of TXA activity in trauma and determine whether administration of TXA as a supplement to FWB resuscitation could attenuate the established ATC in a rat model simulating prehospital resuscitation of polytrauma and hemorrhagic shock. In a parallel in-vitro study, the effects on clotting assays of adding plasmin at varying doses along with either simultaneous addition of TXA or pre-incubation with TXA were measured, and the results suggested that maximum anti-fibrinolytic effect of TXA on plasmin-induced fibrinolysis required pre-incubation of TXA and plasmin prior to clot initiation. In the rat model, ATC was induced by polytrauma followed by 40% hemorrhage. One hour after trauma, the rats were resuscitated with FWB collected from donor rats. Vehicle or TXA (10mg/kg) was given as bolus either before trauma (TXA-BT), or 45min after trauma prior to resuscitation (TXA-AT). The TXA-BT group was included to contrast the coagulation effects of TXA when used as it is in elective surgery vs. what is actually feasible in real trauma patients (TXA-AT group). A single dose of TXA prior to trauma significantly delayed the onset of ATC from 30min to 120min after trauma as measured by a rise in prothrombin time (PT). The plasma d-dimer as well as plasminogen/fibrinogen ratio in traumatized liver of TXA-BT were significantly lower as compared to vehicle and TXA-AT. Wet/dry weight ratio and leukocytes infiltration of lungs were significantly decreased only if TXA was administrated later, prior to resuscitation (TXA-AT). In conclusion: Limited prehospital trauma resuscitation that includes FWB and TXA may not correct established systemic ATC, but rather may improve overall outcomes of resuscitation by attenuation of acute lung injury. By contrast, TXA given prior to trauma reduced levels of fibrinolysis at the site of tissue injury and circulatory d-dimer, and delayed development of coagulopathy independent of reduction of fibrinogen levels following trauma. These findings highlight the importance of early administration of TXA in trauma, and suggest that further optimization of dosing protocols in trauma to exploit TXA’s various sites and modes of action may further improve patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0223406
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


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