OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to assess if tranexamic acid is safe, reduces haematoma expansion and improves outcomes in adults with spontaneous intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH).
DESIGN: The TICH-2 (Tranexamic acid for hyperacute primary IntraCerebral Haemorrhage) study was a pragmatic, Phase III, prospective, double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled trial.
SETTING: Acute stroke services at 124 hospitals in 12 countries (Denmark, Georgia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK).
PARTICIPANTS: Adult patients (aged ≥ 18 years) with ICH within 8 hours of onset.
EXCLUSION CRITERIA: Exclusion criteria were ICH secondary to anticoagulation, thrombolysis, trauma or a known underlying structural abnormality; patients for whom tranexamic acid was thought to be contraindicated; prestroke dependence (i.e. patients with a modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score > 4); life expectancy 4.5 hours after stroke onset. Pragmatic inclusion criteria led to a heterogeneous population of participants, some of whom had very large strokes. Although 12 countries enrolled participants, the majority (82.1%) were from the UK.
CONCLUSIONS: Tranexamic acid did not affect a patient's functional status at 90 days after ICH, despite there being significant modest reductions in early death (by 7 days), haematoma expansion and SAEs, which is consistent with an antifibrinolytic effect. Tranexamic acid was safe, with no increase in thromboembolic events.
FUTURE WORK: Future work should focus on enrolling and treating patients early after stroke and identify which participants are most likely to benefit from haemostatic therapy. Large randomised trials are needed.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN93732214.
FUNDING: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 23, No. 35. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information. The project was also funded by the Pragmatic Trials, UK, funding call and the Swiss Heart Foundation in Switzerland.
METHODS: The CRASH-3 trial randomised 9202 patients within 3 h of injury with a GCS score ≤ 12 or intracranial bleeding on CT scan and no significant extracranial bleeding to receive TXA or placebo. We conducted an exploratory analysis of the effects of TXA on all-cause mortality within 24 h of injury and within 28 days, excluding patients with a GCS score of 3 or bilateral unreactive pupils, stratified by severity and country income. We pool data from the CRASH-2 and CRASH-3 trials in a one-step fixed effects individual patient data meta-analysis.
RESULTS: There were 7637 patients for analysis after excluding patients with a GCS score of 3 or bilateral unreactive pupils. Of 1112 deaths, 23.3% were within 24 h of injury (early deaths). The risk of early death was reduced with TXA (112 (2.9%) TXA group vs 147 (3.9%) placebo group; risk ratio [RR] RR 0.74, 95% CI 0.58-0.94). There was no evidence of heterogeneity by severity (p = 0.64) or country income (p = 0.68). The risk of death beyond 24 h of injury was similar in the TXA and placebo groups (432 (11.5%) TXA group vs 421 (11.7%) placebo group; RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.69-1.12). The risk of death at 28 days was 14.0% in the TXA group versus 15.1% in the placebo group (544 vs 568 events; RR 0.93, 95% CI 0.83-1.03). When the CRASH-2 and CRASH-3 trial data were pooled, TXA reduced early death (RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.70-0.87) and death within 28 days (RR 0.88, 95% CI 0.82-0.94).
CONCLUSIONS: Tranexamic acid reduces early deaths in non-moribund TBI patients regardless of TBI severity or country income. The effect of tranexamic acid in patients with isolated TBI is similar to that in polytrauma. Treatment is safe and even severely injured patients appear to benefit when treated soon after injury.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN15088122 , registered on 19 July 2011; NCT01402882 , registered on 26 July 2011.
RESULTS: Primary outcome will be the ability of tranexamic acid to limit absolute haematoma volume on computed tomography at 24 h (± 12 h) after randomisation among spot sign positive and spot sign negative participants, respectively. Within all outcome measures, the effect of tranexamic acid in spot sign positive/negative participants will be compared using tests of interaction. This sub-study will investigate the important clinical hypothesis that spot sign positive patients might benefit more from administration of tranexamic acid compared to spot sign negative patients. Trial registration ISRCTN93732214 ( http://www.isrctn.com ).
CONCLUSION: The guideline highlights select pre-hospital criteria's and the methods for drug administration. The authors recognise that some variants may be present amongst certain institutions necessitating minor adaptations, nevertheless the core principles of advocating tranexamic acid early in the course of pre-hospital trauma should be adhered to.
Method: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL and clinical trial registers for studies using search strategies incorporating the terms 'intracerebral haemorrhage', 'tranexamic acid' and 'antifibrinolytic'. Authors of ongoing clinical trials were contacted for further details.
Findings: We screened 268 publications and retrieved 17 articles after screening. Unpublished information from three ongoing clinical trials was obtained. We found five completed studies. Of these, two randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing intravenous tranexamic acid to placebo (n = 54) reported no significant difference in death or dependency. Three observational studies (n = 281) suggested less haematoma growth with rapid tranexamic acid infusion. There are six ongoing RCTs (n = 3089) with different clinical exclusions, imaging selection criteria (spot sign and haematoma volume), time window for recruitment and dosing of tranexamic acid.
Discussion: Despite their heterogeneity, the ongoing trials will provide key evidence on the effects of tranexamic acid on ICH. There are uncertainties of whether patients with negative spot sign, large haematoma, intraventricular haemorrhage, or poor Glasgow Coma Scale should be recruited. The time window for optimal effect of haemostatic therapy in ICH is yet to be established.
Conclusion: Tranexamic acid is a promising haemostatic agent for ICH. We await the results of the trials before definite conclusions can be drawn.
DESIGN: MRI substudy nested within the double-blind randomised controlled Tranexamic Acid for Hyperacute Primary Intracerebral Haemorrhage (TICH)-2 trial (ISRCTN93732214).
SETTING: International multicentre hospital-based study.
PARTICIPANTS: Eligible adults consented and randomised in the TICH-2 trial who were also able to undergo MRI scanning. To address the primary hypothesis, a sample size of n=280 will allow detection of a 10% relative increase in prevalence of diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) hyperintense lesions in the TXA group with 5% significance, 80% power and 5% imaging data rejection.
INTERVENTIONS: TICH-2 MRI substudy participants will undergo MRI scanning using a standardised protocol at day ~5 and day ~90 after randomisation. Clinical assessments, randomisation to TXA or placebo and participant follow-up will be performed as per the TICH-2 trial protocol.
CONCLUSION: The TICH-2 MRI substudy will test whether TXA increases the incidence of new DWI-defined ischaemic lesions or reduces perihaematomal oedema or final ICH lesion volume in the context of SICH.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The TICH-2 trial obtained ethical approval from East Midlands - Nottingham 2 Research Ethics Committee (12/EM/0369) and an amendment to allow the TICH-2 MRI sub study was approved in April 2015 (amendment number SA02/15). All findings will be published in peer-reviewed journals. The primary outcome results will also be presented at a relevant scientific meeting.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN93732214; Pre-results.
METHODS: We did an international, randomised placebo-controlled trial in adults with intracerebral haemorrhage from acute stroke units at 124 hospital sites in 12 countries. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive 1 g intravenous tranexamic acid bolus followed by an 8 h infusion of 1 g tranexamic acid or a matching placebo, within 8 h of symptom onset. Randomisation was done centrally in real time via a secure website, with stratification by country and minimisation on key prognostic factors. Treatment allocation was concealed from patients, outcome assessors, and all other health-care workers involved in the trial. The primary outcome was functional status at day 90, measured by shift in the modified Rankin Scale, using ordinal logistic regression with adjustment for stratification and minimisation criteria. All analyses were done on an intention-to-treat basis. This trial is registered with the ISRCTN registry, number ISRCTN93732214.
FINDINGS: We recruited 2325 participants between March 1, 2013, and Sept 30, 2017. 1161 patients received tranexamic acid and 1164 received placebo; the treatment groups were well balanced at baseline. The primary outcome was assessed for 2307 (99%) participants. The primary outcome, functional status at day 90, did not differ significantly between the groups (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0·88, 95% CI 0·76-1·03, p=0·11). Although there were fewer deaths by day 7 in the tranexamic acid group (101 [9%] deaths in the tranexamic acid group vs 123 [11%] deaths in the placebo group; aOR 0·73, 0·53-0·99, p=0·0406), there was no difference in case fatality at 90 days (250 [22%] vs 249 [21%]; adjusted hazard ratio 0·92, 95% CI 0·77-1·10, p=0·37). Fewer patients had serious adverse events after tranexamic acid than after placebo by days 2 (379 [33%] patients vs 417 [36%] patients), 7 (456 [39%] vs 497 [43%]), and 90 (521 [45%] vs 556 [48%]).
INTERPRETATION: Functional status 90 days after intracerebral haemorrhage did not differ significantly between patients who received tranexamic acid and those who received placebo, despite a reduction in early deaths and serious adverse events. Larger randomised trials are needed to confirm or refute a clinically significant treatment effect.
FUNDING: National Institute of Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme and Swiss Heart Foundation.
METHODS AND DESIGN: TICH-2 is a pragmatic, phase III, prospective, double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled trial. Two thousand adult (aged ≥ 18 years) patients with an acute SICH, within 8 h of stroke onset, will be randomised to receive TXA or the placebo control. The primary outcome is ordinal shift of modified Rankin Scale score at day 90. Analyses will be performed using intention-to-treat.
RESULTS: This paper and its attached appendices describe the statistical analysis plan (SAP) for the trial and were developed and published prior to database lock and unblinding to treatment allocation. The SAP includes details of analyses to be undertaken and unpopulated tables which will be reported in the primary and key secondary publications. The database will be locked in early 2018, ready for publication of the results later in the same year.
DISCUSSION: The SAP details the analyses that will be done to avoid bias arising from prior knowledge of the study findings. The trial will determine whether TXA can improve outcome after SICH, which currently has no definitive therapy.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN registry, ID: ISRCTN93732214 . Registered on 17 January 2013.