Fasting guidelines

Your safety is central to everything we do. As such, we want to ensure that you have not eaten or drunk anything prior to your surgery as specified below. The rationale for pre-operative fasting is that all sedative and anaesthetic drugs will impair the protective reflexes that prevent stomach contents from being regurgitated into your lungs (“aspiration”). Aspiration can cause very serious illness, and one of the ways we minimise this risk is to ensure you are appropriately fasted.

The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists’ current recommendations (Professional Statement 15) for healthy patients having elective surgery are as follows:

For adults
You may have a light meal (eg toast and clear fluids) up to 6 hours prior to your anaesthetic, and clear fluids up to 2 hours prior to your anaesthetic.
“Clear fluids” include a glass of water, black tea or coffee, or apple juice without pulp.
For children
Children over 6 weeks of age may have limited solids and formula milk up to 6 hours prior, breast milk up to 4 hours prior, and clear fluids up to 2 hours prior to anaesthesia.

Infants under 6 weeks of age may have formula and breast milk up to 4 hours prior to their anaesthetic.

You will generally receive specific instructions about which of your usual medications you should continue taking on the morning of your surgery, and you should still take these with a sip of water (even while you are otherwise fasting).

Diabetics will also receive specific instructions regarding their medications.

If you have any questions, please contact the Pre-admission Clinic ( 02 9463 1413 during business hours). If you are not appropriately fasted, your surgery will be delayed or cancelled.