Reducing preoperative fasting time: A trend based on evidence

World J Gastrointest Surg. 2010 Mar 27;2(3):57-60. doi: 10.4240/wjgs.v2.i3.57.


Preoperative fasting is mandatory before anesthesia to reduce the risk of aspiration. However, the prescribed 6-8 h of fasting is usually prolonged to 12-16 h for various reasons. Prolonged fasting triggers a metabolic response that precipitates gluconeogenesis and increases the organic response to trauma. Various randomized trials and meta-analyses have consistently shown that is safe to reduce the preoperative fasting time with a carbohydrate-rich drink up to 2 h before surgery. Benefits related to this shorter preoperative fasting include the reduction of postoperative gastrointestinal discomfort and insulin resistance. New formulas containing amino acids such as glutamine and other peptides are being studied and are promising candidates to be used to reduce preoperative fasting time.

Keywords: Anesthesia complications; Carbohydrate; Insulin resistance; Nutrition; Perioperative care; Preoperative fasting.