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Lim HJ, Lee H, Ti LK
Correspondence: Dr Lim Hsien Jer, firstname.lastname@example.org
INTRODUCTION To avoid the risk of pulmonary aspiration, fasting before anaesthesia is important. We postulated that the rate of noncompliance with fasting would be high in patients who were admitted on the day of surgery. Therefore, we surveyed patients in our institution to determine the rate of fasting compliance. We also examined patients’ knowledge on preoperative fasting, as well as their perception of and attitudes toward preoperative fasting.
METHODS Patients scheduled for ‘day surgery’ or ‘same day admission surgery’ under general or regional anaesthesia were surveyed over a four-week period. The patients were asked to answer an eighteen-point questionnaire on demographics, preoperative fasting and attitudes toward fasting.
RESULTS A total of 130 patients were surveyed. 128 patients fasted before surgery, 111 patients knew that they needed to fast for at least six hours before surgery, and 121 patients believed that preoperative fasting was important, with 103 believing that preoperative fasting was necessary to avoid perioperative complications. However, patient understanding was poor, with only 44.6% of patients knowing the reason for fasting, and 10.8% of patients thinking that preoperative fasting did not include abstinence from beverages and sweets. When patients who did and did not know the reason for fasting were compared, we did not find any significant differences in age, gender or educational status.
CONCLUSION Despite the patients’ poor understanding of the reason for fasting, they were highly compliant with preoperative fasting. This is likely a result of their perception that fasting was important. However, poor understanding of the reason for fasting may lead to unintentional noncompliance.
Keywords: anaesthesia, compliance, fasting, knowledge, preoperative
Singapore Med J 2014; 55(1): 18-23; http://dx.doi.org/10.11622/smedj.2014005
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