Patients are already nervous and anxious before surgery. Add dehydrated and hungry to the equation and their discomfort spikes as their blood sugar drops. How well patients feel heading into the OR is important, but how well their body is prepared to handle the physical stress of surgery is perhaps more crucial. When patients enter a fasting state, which can occur as soon as four hours after eating food, they develop insulin resistance, hyperglycemia and dehydration — factors that can have a negative impact on post-op outcomes.
Practice guidelines issued by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) clearly state that patients can drink clear liquids up to two hours before elective surgery, so why are some providers still asking patients to go NPO after midnight? The practice is based on antiquated routines instead of current research.