Ultrasound assessment of gastric volume in the fasted pediatric patient undergoing upper gastrointestinal endoscopy: development of a predictive model using endoscopically suctioned volumes

Paediatr Anaesth. 2015 Mar;25(3):301-8. doi: 10.1111/pan.12581. Epub 2014 Dec 11.


Background: Aspiration of gastric contents can be a serious anesthetic-related complication. Gastric antral sonography prior to anesthesia may have a role in identifying pediatric patients at risk of aspiration. We examined the relationship between sonographic antral area and endoscopically suctioned gastric volumes, and whether a 3-point qualitative grading system is applicable in pediatric patients.

Methods: Fasted patients presenting to a pediatric hospital for upper gastrointestinal endoscopy were included in the study. Sonographic measurement of the antral cross-sectional area (CSA) in supine (supine CSA) and right lateral decubitus (RLD CSA) position was completed, and the antrum was designated as empty or nonempty. Gastric contents were endoscopically suctioned and measured. Multiple regression analysis was used to fit a mathematical model to estimate gastric volume.

Results: One hundred patients (aged 11-216 months) were included. The gastric antrum was measured in 94% and 99% of patients in the supine and RLD positions, respectively. Gastric antral CSA correlated with total gastric volume in both supine (ρ = 0.63) and RLD (ρ = 0.67) positions. A mathematical model incorporating RLD CSA and age (R(2) = 0.60) was determined as the best-fit model to predict gastric volumes. Increasing gastric antral grade (0-2) was associated with increasing gastric fluid volume.

Conclusion: The results suggest that sonographic assessment of the gastric antrum provides useful information regarding gastric content (empty versus nonempty) and volume (ml·kg(-1) ) in pediatric patients. Results suggest that the three-point grading system may be a valuable tool to assess gastric 'fullness' based on a qualitative exam of the antrum.

Keywords: adverse events - complications; measurement; quality improvement - outcomes; research; ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Algorithms
  • Anatomy, Cross-Sectional
  • Anesthesia, General
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal / methods*
  • Fasting / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gastric Emptying
  • Gastrointestinal Contents
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pyloric Antrum / diagnostic imaging
  • Respiratory Aspiration of Gastric Contents / prevention & control
  • Risk Assessment
  • Stomach / diagnostic imaging*
  • Suction / methods*
  • Ultrasonography