Patients no longer have to fast more than six hours before surgery
Surgical patients in the Netherlands will no longer need to fast for extensive periods of time before an operation. A new guideline was recently introduced in which the fasting duration is much shorter, the Dutch Association for Anesthesiology announced following the publication of a news article in AD.
Anesthesiologists see more than 1.2 million people every year for an operation or procedure, and the majority have to fast beforehand. This is to prevent vomit from entering the lungs while anesthetized or sedated. Previously, the advice was to eat a final meal the night before the procedure, and not to eat or drink anything afterwards. This was also the case if the procedure was not scheduled until the following afternoon.
In the new guideline, the association agreed that patients may eat up to six hours before the operation, and drink clear liquids such as water, lemonade, tea or black coffee up to two hours beforehand. "Various studies show that there is sufficient reason to shorten the fasting period before the operation," said Anton de Bruin, board member at the Dutch Association for Anesthesiology and an anesthesiologist and intensive care physician himself.
"It gives patients more comfort, for example, to be able to drink a cup of black coffee in the morning. The body also recovers faster after surgery."
The shorter fasting times have been used in many clinics for some time, said De Bruin. This working method has now been officially laid down in the new directive, also elsewhere in Europe. "We all now say, ‘This is the standard, and we will only deviate from it if we have a good reason for it, as is stated in the guideline.’"
Reporting by ANP