Challenge to before-surgery fast dogma

A NSW anaesthetist is challenging the fasting-before-surgery dogma that ‘clear fluids’ means water, saying patients benefit from a carbohydrate-rich drink two hours preoperatively.

However, other anaesthetists caution there is insufficient evidence to widen the use of such drinks beyond a small group of select patients.

Dr David Rowe, director of anaesthesia at Armidale Rural Referral Hospital, says while current Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) guidelines recommend six hours of fasting for solids and two hours for clear fluids before surgery,