Overview: Decades of research support the safety and health benefits of consuming clear liquids, including those that are carbohydrate rich, until a few hours before elective surgery or other procedures requiring sedation or anesthesia. Still, U.S. clinicians routinely instruct patients to fast for excessively long preoperative periods. Evidence-based guidelines, published over the past 25 years in the United States, Canada, and throughout Europe, recommend liberalizing preoperative fasting policies. To improve patient safety and health care quality, it's essential that health care professionals abandon outdated preoperative fasting policies and allow available evidence to guide preanesthetic practices.
Keywords: aspiration, fasting, gastric fluid volume, pneumonia, preoperative care, preprocedural fasting, preoperative carbohydrate loading