We know kids are hungry and thirsty the day of surgery. What is the reason for the strict “empty stomach” rule?
It’s about safety during anesthesia. When your child is receiving the anesthetic before pediatric surgery, body muscles are very relaxed. This includes the muscles of the Gastrointestinal tract. The stomach, esophagus, and the opening between the two, normally do not allow food to regurgitate backwards. When the body is relaxed by anesthetics, there is an increased chance of vomiting. Because the patient is not awake at this time, and has no control of the vomiting, there is a significant risk that the stomach contents will enter the lungs. We don’t want to take such risks for elective procedures.
So it’s not just a made-up, meaningless rule. It’s about keeping your child safe. It is very important that we know the last time food or drink was consumed, for this reason. That’s why you’re asked this question several times throughout the process. We appreciate your cooperation in minimizing this risk, and we promise, there are popsicles and juice waiting in the recovery area!