A new study shows that every minute counts when it comes to treating severe bleeding after trauma or childbirth…
Time is of the essence
Time is of the essence when it comes to administering the clot-stabilising drug tranexamic acid to people with serious injury or women with severe bleeding after childbirth, according to a meta-analysis of over 40 000 patients.
Death reduced by 70%
The study, published in The Lancet on 7 November 2018, found that the likelihood of death due to blood loss was reduced by over 70% if the low-cost, readily-available drug was given immediately after injury or birth. But the chances of survival fell by 10% for each 15 minute delay, with no benefit seen after three hours.
Treated at scene of injury
“Responding quickly can be the difference between life and death, and that means patients must be treated urgently at the scene of injury or as soon as the diagnosis of haemorrhage is made. We have to make sure tranexamic acid is available before patients reach hospital and whenever a woman gives birth,” says Professor Ian Roberts from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK, who initiated the study.
Excessive bleeding after childbirth leading cause of maternal death
Every year, more than two million people worldwide die from traumatic extra-cranial bleeding, often as a result of road traffic injuries and violence. Furthermore, excessive bleeding after childbirth is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide, killing around 100 000 women a year.
Drug reduces bleeding
Antifibrinolytic drugs work by stopping blood clots from breaking down and reducing bleeding. They have been used for many years to reduce heavy menstrual bleeding and are often given during surgery to reduce the need for blood transfusions.
Safe and cheap
Professor Roberts explains: “Tranexamic acid is safe, cheap, easily administered, and does not need to be refrigerated. Most haemorrhage deaths occur within hours of bleeding onset. Prompt treatment has the potential to save thousands of additional lives worldwide every year.”
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