, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 187-192

Current practice of preoperative fasting: a nationwide survey in Japanese anesthesia-teaching hospitals

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We conducted a nationwide survey to investigate the current practice of the preoperative fasting period in Japanese anesthesia-teaching hospitals. Acceptance of the clinical practice guideline published by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) was also surveyed.


A written type-of questionnaire was mailed to 795 teaching hospitals.


The response rate of the questionnaires was 57%. Most (>90%) of the respondents had been applying a longer fasting period than the ASA-recommended minimum period specifically in adults; the median duration of fasting was 12–13 h for solids and 6–9 h for liquids. Children or infants were allowed a more liberalized fasting period, frequently being permitted an oral intake of clear fluids up to 3 h before anesthesia. The incidence of pulmonary aspiration was 1/12 500 general anesthesia cases, and application of the ASA guideline appeared not to affect the incidence. Japanese anesthesiologists were still reluctant to depart from their traditional long fasting periods, as most of them could find little benefit in reducing the fasting periods.


The long preoperative fasting period is still common practice in Japanese anesthesia-teaching hospitals. A national guideline for a preoperative fasting policy is worth exploring to change the current practice.

Some of the results of this study were reported at the 50th annual congress of the Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists, Yokohama, Japan