Fasting (refraining from eating or drinking) is essential prior to your procedure. Fasting reduces the risk of regurgitating the contents of the stomach which, if it occurs, may lead to damage to the lungs.
The following fasting guidelines are recommended by the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA):
- For adults having an elective procedure: solid food may be taken up to six hours prior to surgery and drinking clear fluids for up to two hours prior to surgery. Clear fluids are water, pulp free fruit juice, clear cordial, black tea and black coffee. Cloudy or milk based drinks or alcohol are not to be taken.
- For children over six months of age having an elective procedure, breast milk or formula and limited solid food may be given up to six hours and clear fluids are encouraged up to two hours prior to surgery.
- For infants under six months of age having an elective procedure, formula may be given up to four hours, breast milk up to three hours and clear fluids up to two hours prior to surgery.
- Prescribed medications may be taken with a sip of water less than two hours prior to surgery unless otherwise directed.
These fasting guidelines may not apply to certain patient groups at increased risk of regurgitation and vomiting. In these cases, a longer fasting period may be required. Your anaesthetist will contact you if these guidelines do not apply.