Fasting before surgery not necessary

July 27, 2006

A Dallas researcher thinks its time to end the 60-year-old practice of forcing patients to fast before having surgery.

Elizabeth Winslow, a nurse at Presbyterian Hospital, has spent years studying preoperative fasting and finds the practice causes more harm than good, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Winslow says fasting is often associated with adverse effects such as hunger and dehydration, and can also cause headaches, dizziness and nausea in some people.

The practice began 60 years ago when a New York doctor named Curtis Mendelson reported that surgery patients who recently had food or drink were more likely to regurgitate their stomach contents.

Patients can choke to death on regurgitated food or it can cause pulmonary aspiration if it leaks into the lungs.

When researchers revisited the issue in the 1980s, they found that fasting did not reduce the incidence of pulmonary aspiration and that patients could have clear liquids up to two hours before surgery with no ill effects.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Health record app for Google Glass developed by Drchrono

Related Stories

Health record app for Google Glass developed by Drchrono

June 15, 2014

The future of Google Glass in health care appears to be by now not a question of if but a question of where and when. Philips Healthcare, in its explorations into health care's future, created a video that imagined how Google ...

Recommended for you

Gold nanomembranes resist bending in new experiment

October 9, 2015

The first direct measurement of resistance to bending in a nanoscale membrane has been made by scientists from the University of Chicago, Peking University, the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Department of Energy's ...

Image: Sentinel-1A captures Azore islands

October 9, 2015

This Sentinel-1A radar image was processed to depict water in blue and land in earthen colours. It features some of the Azore islands about 1600 km west of Lisbon, including the turtle-shaped Faial, the dagger-like Sao Jorge ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.