Applying results from clinical trials: tranexamic acid in trauma patients

Actions speak louder than words and there’s little point in reading research that could help to save patients but not putting it to practical use.

This article (full-text available here) considers how results from clinical trials should be applied in the care of patients, using the results of the Clinical Randomisation of an Antifibrinolytic in Significant Haemorrhage (CRASH-2) trial of tranexamic acid in bleeding trauma patients as a case study. It explains why an understanding of the mechanisms of action of the trial treatment, and insight into the factors that might be relevant to this mechanism, is critical in order to properly apply (generalise) trial results and why it is not necessary that the trial population is representative of the population in which the medicine will be used.  It further explains why cause (mechanism)-specific mortality is more generalizable than all-cause mortality and why the risk ratio is the generalizable measure of the effect of the treatment. The paper argues that biological insight into how the treatment works is more relevant when applying research results to patient care than the application of statistical reasoning.

Do you agree?