Anti-fibrinolytic drugs, which slow the breakdown of blood clots, can reduce the volume of blood lost during major complex surgery, according to recent research.
The Cochrane Review determined that anti-fibrinolytics can reduce the need for re-operation due to continued bleeding.
It also highlighted that one of the effective drugs, tranexamic acid, is relatively inexpensive and is likely to be cost effective, particularly in cardiac surgery.
Professor Mike Clarke, the UK Cochrane Centre director, said: "This is an extremely important finding. It shows very strongly that anti-fibrinolytics, which are cheap, can dramatically reduce the need for blood transfusion.
"Blood is scarce, expensive and transfusions can be dangerous, so this is likely to be a very important finding globally."
Significantly, this study found no increase in the risk of thrombosis with tranexamic acid or aprotinin, another anti-fribrinolytic.
Some previous studies, which were not randomised, suggested a link between these drugs and thrombosis, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
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