• See also

    Diabetes Mellitus and surgery

    Key points

    1. The goal of these guidelines is to minimise the fasting times for clear fluids to 1 hour
    2. Only the anaesthetist may adjust these guidelines
    3. If a patient appears likely to fast for much longer than these times, please contact the anaesthetist (see below)
    4. Children at higher risk of hypoglycaemia (Diabetes mellitus; specific metabolic disorders) will have special requirements and the anaesthetist of the day should be consulted


    Clear fluids are those which when held to light, are transparent. They include glucose based drinks, cordials, clear juices, and RCH supplied icy poles. They do not include particulate or milk based products, jelly, or thickened fluids


    Children less than 6 months of age

    • Plan for the last breast feed to finish no later than 3 Hours before anaesthesia
    • Plan for a formula feed to finish no later than 4 Hours before anaesthesia

    Children greater than 6 months of age

    • Do not give milk drinks, food, lollies or chewing gum for 6 Hours before anaesthesia
    • Offer clear fluids up to 1 Hour before anaesthesia

    Oral Medication  

    • Continue regular oral medications unless otherwise requested by the anaesthetist
    • Medications can be taken with a sip of clear fluid
    • Medications cannot be given with thickened fluids   

    Elective surgery and anaesthesia  

    • For patients with a specific (staggered) admission time, the fasting orders above should be applied to that admission time
    • Morning Operation (list starts at 0830): Fast from 0230 for food or milk and continue clear fluids until 0730  
    • Afternoon Operation (list starts at 1330): Fast from 0730 for food or milk and continue clear fluids until 1230  
    • Cardiac Surgery (list starts at 0800): Fast from 0200 for food or milk, and continue clear fluids until 0700    

    Emergency surgery and anesthesia  

    The fasting plan should be discussed at booking. Whilst awaiting surgery, the fasting plan should be reviewed at intervals with the duty anaesthetist to minimise dehydration              

    Contacting the anaesthetist  

    For elective cases, the anaesthetist for the list should be contacted first for all queries regarding fasting. Please use the paging system.  

    For emergency cases or when unable to contact the elective list anaesthetist, or after hours, you can call the anaesthetist in charge on 52000

    Last updated December 2021