Fasting Before Anesthesia: An Unsettled Dilemma

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The exact frequency of perioperative aspiration is not known.1,2 This is largely because the signs and symptoms may be minimal and often nonspecific such as tachycardia, tachypnea, coughing, laryngospasm, or desaturation. In general, current aspiration risk estimates indicate that it is in the neighborhood of 1 in 2000 to 3000 anesthetics in adults3–5 with a slightly higher risk in children (1 in 1200 to 1 in 2600).3 Therefore, preoperative fasting for surgical patients became a standard practice in an attempt to minimize the risk of aspiration.
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