Background: Healthy nonpregnant patients may ingest clear liquids until 2 h before induction of anesthesia without adversely affecting gastric volume. The purpose of this study was to compare gastric emptying in term, nonlaboring pregnant women after ingestion of 50 ml water (control) with that after ingestion of 300 ml water.
Methods: Gastric emptying was assessed in healthy, nonobese, term pregnant volunteers using both serial gastric ultrasound examinations (n = 9) and acetaminophen absorption (n = 11) in a crossover study design. After an overnight fast, volunteers ingested 1.5 g acetaminophen and 50 or 300 ml water (assigned in random order) on two occasions separated by at least 2 days. Serial gastric antrum cross-sectional areas were determined using gastric ultrasound imaging, and the half-time to gastric emptying was calculated. Serial plasma acetaminophen concentrations were measured. Areas under the plasma acetaminophen concentration versus time curve, peak concentrations, and time to peak concentration for 50- and 300-ml ingestions were compared.
Results: Gastric emptying half-time was significantly shorter after ingestion of 300 ml water than after ingestion of 50 ml (24 +/- 6 vs. 33 +/- 8 min). There were no differences in acetaminophen areas under the curve at 60, 90, or 120 min, or in acetaminophen peak concentration. Time to peak concentration of acetaminophen was significantly shorter after ingestion of 300 ml water than after ingestion of 50 ml (25 +/- 12 vs. 41 +/- 19 min).
Conclusions: Gastric emptying in healthy, term, nonobese, nonlaboring pregnant women is not delayed after ingestion of 300 ml water compared with that after an overnight fast.