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Paediatr Anaesth. 2001 Mar;11(2):147-50.

Aspiration and regurgitation prophylaxis in paediatric anaesthesia.

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Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Grampian University Hospital Trusts, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 9ZD, UK.



Surveys of aspiration prophylaxis in paediatric anaesthesia do not exist.


A postal survey was sent out to all UK members of the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists (APA) to assess current practice. We asked about minimum fasting times for liquids and solids/milk, their routine acid aspiration prophylaxis and perceived risk factors for emergency and elective surgery in children those less than 1 year old and those aged 1-14 years. We also asked if the APA member had more than 10 years experience in paediatric anaesthesia.


One hundred and two (55.1%) APA members replied out of a total of 185 questionnaires sent. Eighty-eight (88/102) were considered valid. Fasting in emergencies is approximately 4 h for solids/milk and 2 h for clear liquids. Fasting for elective surgery is between 5 and 6 h for solids/milk and 2 h for clear liquids. Pharmacological methods to reduce the risk of aspiration are not used. Mechanical methods vary from 40-50% for cricoid pressure and 20-30% for nasogastric aspiration if a tube is present. The presence of a hiatus hernia is perceived by over 80% as a risk factor, previous aspiration by over 60%, difficult intubation, cerebral palsy and sepsis by 20-30%.


Perceived risk factors vary with "experience": hiatus hernia, difficult intubation and cerebral palsy are less important whereas previous aspiration and renal failure appear to be more important for paediatric anaesthetists with less than 10 years in paediatric anaesthetic practice.

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