PURPOSE OF REVIEW
Study after study shows that prolonged fasting before anesthesia is common in children. Pediatric anesthesiologists around the world are concerned that the current guidelines may be part of the problem. This review focuses on what can be done about it.
We discuss new insights into the physiology of gastric emptying of different categories of food and drink. The evidence for negative effects of prolonged fasting occurring in spite of implementation of the current guidelines is examined. We also critically appraise the concept of a strict association between fasting time and the risk of aspiration and discuss recent studies in which children have been allowed clear fluids less than 2 h before anesthesia induction.
Accumulating evidence indicates that changes of the current guidelines for preoperative fasting should be considered for children undergoing elective procedures.