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Anesth Analg. 1995 May;80(5):985-9.

The effects of chewing gum on gastric content prior to induction of general anesthesia.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, Rogaland Central Hospital, Stavanger, Norway.


To study the effects on gastric content and subjective well being of chewing gum in the immediate preoperative period, 60 female nonsmokers were randomized to use regular, sugar-free chewing gum preoperatively or to continue the overnight fast. In a similar fashion 44 habitual smokers were randomized to use nicotine gum 2 mg or not. Nonsmokers using chewing gum had significantly larger gastric fluid volumes than controls (mean 30 +/- 19 mL vs 20 +/- 15 mL; 95% confidence interval (CI) for difference 1-19 mL; P = 0.03), with no difference in gastric fluid acidity. In smokers, neither gastric fluid volume nor acidity differed significantly between those who were or were not chewing gum. Although the use of nicotine gum in smokers was associated with a reduction in dryness of the mouth, thirst, and irritability, nonsmokers chewing regular gum did not report significant improvements in patient well being. In habitual smokers unable to abstain from nicotine, the use of nicotine gum on the morning of surgery may be beneficial. Although it is difficult to prove a direct influence on the incidence of pulmonary aspiration of increased gastric contents, the fact that regular, sugar-free chewing gum increased gastric fluid volumes probably means that it should not be used on the morning of surgery.

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