Journal of Anesthesia

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 187–192

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

  • Nobuaki Shime
  • Akira Ono
  • Eiichi Chihara
  • Yoshifumi Tanaka
Original articles

DOI: 10.1007/s00540-005-0319-z

Cite this article as:
Shime, N., Ono, A., Chihara, E. et al. J Anesth (2005) 19: 187. doi:10.1007/s00540-005-0319-z



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.

Key words

Preoperative fasting periods General anesthesia Japanese practice 


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Copyright information

© JSA 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nobuaki Shime
    • 1
    • 2
  • Akira Ono
    • 3
  • Eiichi Chihara
    • 4
  • Yoshifumi Tanaka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology, Postgraduate School of MedicineKyoto Prefectural University of MedicineKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Division of Intensive Care Medicine, Postgraduate School of MedicineKyoto Prefectural University of MedicineKyotoJapan
  3. 3.Department of AnesthesiologyAkiru Municipal General HospitalKyotoJapan
  4. 4.Department of AnesthesiologyMeiji University of Oriental MedicineKyotoJapan

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