Sarasota

Anesthesiologists

 

 

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Last Updated 03/21/2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

NPO Guidelines

NPO (nothing by mouth) Guidelines

2 Hours Clear Liquid, coffee without cream and sugar; juices without pulp
4 Hours Breast Milk
6 Hours Milk, Full liquids, light meal, low/non-fat meal, low volume
8 Hours Full meal, fatty foods

 

Q:  

 Why do we ask that patients fast overnight before elective procedure?

A:  

Surgery start times often changes unexpectedly and  with a longer NPO time we are more flexible in the scheduling. Furthermore it is much easier and much less confusing to ask patients to not eat anything past midnight rather than to anticipate and explain up to what time what foods can be ingested based on there expected surgery start time.

 

Q:  

Do these rules pertain to all patients?

A:  

No. Patients with diabetes, recent injuries, abdominal complaints, grastroesophogeal reflux disease or and patients who are pregnant or recently delivered often have longer stomach emptying times. Your anesthesiologists will individualize these guidelines for you. Though medicine is a very scientific field, much research needs to be done and hence physicians may disagree as to the optimal therapy and therefore may differ in their recommendations. Because your anesthesiologists will have talked with he or she will be responsible for making all final decisions in regards to your care.

 

Q:  

Why is it so important that I have an empty stomach - won't my glucose go very low?

A:  

During the induction of general anesthesia and during conscious sedation, your stomach and esophagus (food tube) relax and make it possible for food to move up into your mouth from were you may aspirate it down your trachea (wind pipe) into your lungs. Such aspirate is usually very acidic (pH around 1-3) and can cause sever damage to your lungs requiring artificial ventilation and hospitalization. Although occurrence of this may be rare, it's effects can be devastating. As your anesthesia care team we want and must minimize all possible risks.

A:  

Your body can maintain stable glucose levels for more than24 hours without supplemental food intake. Exceptions to this rule are patients with diabetes who take insulin, patients with extensive liver disease and small children. For these patients the anesthesiologist will sometimes order glucose containing IV solutions.

(source: www.asahq.org/practice/npo/npoguideline.html,)

 

Trivia: NPO = Non per os = nothing by mouth