Surgical Procedures

Why do I need to have an empty stomach prior to surgery?

A Answers (2)

  • It is very important that patients have an empty stomach before any surgery or procedure that needs anesthesia. When anesthesia is given, it is common for all the normal reflexes to relax. This condition makes it easy for stomach contents to go backwards into the esophagus (food tube) and mouth or even the windpipe and lungs. Because the stomach contains acid, if any stomach contents do get into the lungs, they can cause a serious pneumonia, called aspiration pneumonitis. 
  • Why do I need to have an empty stomach prior to surgery?
    Under anesthesia, vomiting can occur during surgery, so having an empty stomach is important. Watch this video to hear more from Brandon Harrell, MD of Northeast Methodist Hospital.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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