What are the risks of taking routine medications during and overnight preoperative fast?

Updated: Jan 09, 2018
  • Author: Nafisa K Kuwajerwala, MD; Chief Editor: William A Schwer, MD  more...
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Overnight fasting reduces the risk for aspiration of stomach contents when the patient is placed under general anesthesia. However, liquids are cleared from the stomach within 2 hours of ingestion, and no differences in the volume or pH of gastric contents is noted in those patients taking clear fluids 2 hours before surgery compared to those taking clear fluids 9 hours before surgery. Therefore, patients can be given their routine medications with sips of water up to 2 hours before anesthesia.

For excellent patient education resources, see eMedicineHealth's patient education article Pain After Surgery.

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