Pan African Medical Journal

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Preoperative fasting times in elective surgical patients at a referral Hospital in Botswana

Worknehe Agegnehu Abebe, Ambrose Rukewe, Negussie Alula Bekele, Moeng Stoffel, Mompelegi Nicoh Dichabeng, Jemal Zeberga Shifa


Introduction: Adults and children are required to fast before anaesthesia to reduce the risk of regurgitation and aspiration of gastric contents. However, prolonged periods of fasting are unnecessary and may cause  complications. This study was conducted to evaluate preoperative fasting period in our centre and compare it with the ASA recommendations and factors that influence fasting periods. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study of preoperative fasting times among elective surgical patients. A total numbers of 260 patients were interviewed as they arrived at the reception area of operating theatre using questionnaire. Results: Majority of patients (98.1%) were instructed to fast from midnight. Fifteen patients (5.8 %) reported that they were told the importance of preoperative fasting. The mean fasting period were 15.9±2.5 h (range 12.0-25.3 h) for solids and 15.3±2.3 h (range 12.0-22.0 h) for liquids. The mean duration of fasting was significantly longer for patients operated after midday compared to those operated before midday, p<0.001. Conclusion: The mean fasting periods were 7.65 times longer for clear liquid and 2.5 times for solids than the ASA guidelines. It is imperative that the Hospital should establish Preoperative fasting policies and teach the staff who should ensure compliance with guidelines.

Pan African Medical Journal 2016; 23
AJOL African Journals Online