How long must I fast for before surgery and why do I need to fast at all?
An empty stomach is important to prevent food or liquid getting into the lungs. Fasting can help empty the stomach, but too much fasting can also cause problems. Each hospital has its own guidelines about fasting. Additionally, your anaesthetist or surgeon may provide tailored advice taking into account your medical conditions. Patients with delayed gastric emptying or adjustable gastric bands may require longer fast times.
Please seek guidance as to the approximate time of your procedure (usually from the surgeon’s rooms) to determine your fasting times more appropriately.
IF you have not received any fasting guidelines from the hospital or surgeon, the following guidelines are based on advice from the College of Anaesthetists:
|Adults||No food for 6 hours prior to anaesthesia.||You can have small amounts of CLEAR FLUID until 2 hours before anaesthesia. No liquids for 2 hours prior to anaesthesia.|
|Children older than 6 Months||No food/breast milk/formula for 6 hours prior to anaesthesia.||You can have small amounts of CLEAR FLUID (no more than 3ml/kg/hr) until 1 hour before anaesthesia. No liquids for 1 hour prior to anaesthesia.|
|Children younger than 6 months||Formula may be given up to 4 hours prior to anaesthesia. Breast milk up to 3 hours prior to anaesthesia.||CLEAR FLUID (no more than 3ml/kg/hr) up to one hour prior to anaesthesia. No liquids for 1 hour prior to anaesthesia.|
NOTE: CLEAR FLUID includes water, apple juice (without pulp), black tea or black coffee (NO milk)