The design of a Bayesian adaptive clinical trial of tranexamic acid in severely injured children

For the TIC-TOC Collaborators of the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Trauma is the leading cause of death and disability in children in the USA. Tranexamic acid (TXA) reduces the blood transfusion requirements in adults and children during surgery. Several studies have evaluated TXA in adults with hemorrhagic trauma, but no randomized controlled trials have occurred in children with trauma. We propose a Bayesian adaptive clinical trial to investigate TXA in children with brain and/or torso hemorrhagic trauma. Methods/design: We designed a double-blind, Bayesian adaptive clinical trial that will enroll up to 2000 patients. We extend the traditional Emax dose-response model to incorporate a hierarchical structure so multiple doses of TXA can be evaluated in different injury populations (isolated head injury, isolated torso injury, or both head and torso injury). Up to 3 doses of TXA (15 mg/kg, 30 mg/kg, and 45 mg/kg bolus doses) will be compared to placebo. Equal allocation between placebo, 15 mg/kg, and 30 mg/kg will be used for an initial period within each injury group. Depending on the dose-response curve, the 45 mg/kg arm may open in an injury group if there is a trend towards increasing efficacy based on the observed relationship using the data from the lower doses. Response-adaptive randomization allows each injury group to differ in allocation proportions of TXA so an optimal dose can be identified for each injury group. Frequent interim stopping periods are included to evaluate efficacy and futility. The statistical design is evaluated through extensive simulations to determine the operating characteristics in several plausible scenarios. This trial achieves adequate power in each injury group. Discussion: This trial design evaluating TXA in pediatric hemorrhagic trauma allows for three separate injury populations to be analyzed and compared within a single study framework. Individual conclusions regarding optimal dosing of TXA can be made within each injury group. Identifying the optimal dose of TXA, if any, for various injury types in childhood may reduce death and disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number769
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Adaptive clinical trial design
  • Bayesian statistics
  • Dose-response
  • Pediatrics
  • Response-adaptive randomization
  • Tranexamic acid
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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