Comparison of the efficacy of irrigation with epinephrine or tranexamic acid on visual clarity during arthroscopic rotator cuff repair: A double-blind, randomized-controlled study

Objectives: This study aims to investigate whether there was a difference between epinephrine (EPN) and tranexamic acid (TXA) in providing visual clarity during arthroscopic rotator cuff tear repair.

Patients and methods: This double-blind, prospective, randomized-controlled clinical study included a total of 90 patients (42 males, 48 females; mean age: 55.6±8.3 years; range, 18 to 69 years) in whom either EPN (EPN group, n=47) or TXA-diluted irrigation solutions (TXA group, n=43) were used during rotator cuff tear arthroscopy between December 2017 and November 2019. Arthroscopy was performed using irrigation fluid containing 0.33 mg of EPN per 1 L of saline in the EPN group and 0.42 mg of TXA per 1 L of saline in the TXA group. All procedures were performed by two specialized shoulder surgeons. Visual clarity (primary endpoint) was rated by the operating surgeon using the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) in the immediate postoperative period. Secondary endpoints included total operating time (TOT), potential thrombotic or thromboembolic side effects, mean arterial pressure (MAP), and total amount of irrigation fluid used.

Results: There was no significant difference in the surgeon rated- VAS scores between the groups. The mean VAS score was 7.6±1.62 (range, 4 to 10) in the EPN group and 7.1±1.74 (range, 3 to 10) in the TXA group (p=0.59). No cardiac, thrombotic, or thromboembolic complications were observed in any of the groups.

Conclusion: Adding TXA to the irrigation fluid during the arthroscopic rotator cuff repair may provide similar visual quality to the EPN, as measured by VAS.