Effects of duration of fasting on gastric fluid pH and volume in healthy children

M. Crawford, J. Lerman, S. Christensen, A. Farrow-Gillespie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


To determine the effects of duration of fasting before elective surgery on gastric fluid pH and volume in children, a prospective, randomized, blinded study of 100 unpremedicated children, aged 1-14 yr, was undertaken. Each child was given 2 mL/kg of water orally and then fasted 2, 4, or 6 h preoperatively. After induction of anesthesia and tracheal intubation, gastric fluid was aspirated through a large-bore, multiorifice orogastric tube. Gastric fluid pH was measured using a calibrated PHM62 radiometer. Gastric fluid volume was the total volume of fluid aspirated from the stomach. The duration of fasting was between 2.0 and 8.5 h. We found that neither gastric fluid pH nor gastric fluid volume correlated with the duration of fasting. The mean (± SD) gastric fluid pH was 1.80 ± 0.79 and the mean (± SD) gastric fluid volume was 0.56 ± 0.39 mL/kg. Gastric fluid pH was <2.5 and volume >0.4 mL/kg in 53% of children. We conclude that healthy children may receive 2 mL/kg of water up to 2 h before elective surgery without decreasing gastric fluid pH or increasing gastric fluid volume beyond values obtained after fasting for 6 h.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-403
Number of pages4
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990


  • Age, gastric pH and volume
  • Anesthesia, pediatric - preoperative fasting
  • Gastrointestinal tract, stomach - pH and volume

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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