12 doctors weighed in:

Why can't I drink water prior to general anesthesia?

12 doctors weighed in
Dr. Karen Sibert
Anesthesiology
4 doctors agree

In brief: Small sip OK

It's ok to take a pill with a small sip of water before having anesthesia, if your doctor advises you not to skip a dose.
Your stomach empties water quickly. However, it is safest for your stomach to be as empty as possible before you have any kind of sedation or general anesthesia, to reduce the risk of vomiting and a serious pneumonia that can happen if it gets in your lungs.

In brief: Small sip OK

It's ok to take a pill with a small sip of water before having anesthesia, if your doctor advises you not to skip a dose.
Your stomach empties water quickly. However, it is safest for your stomach to be as empty as possible before you have any kind of sedation or general anesthesia, to reduce the risk of vomiting and a serious pneumonia that can happen if it gets in your lungs.
Dr. Karen Sibert
Dr. Karen Sibert
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Dr. Barry Rosen
Surgery
3 doctors agree

In brief: Risk of aspiration

General anesthesia is usually administered by placing a breathing tube down your throat into the trachea ("windpipe") after which an inhalational anesthetic can be given.
When performing this, you are at risk for the contents of your stomach "regurgitating" up into the mouth and down the windpipe, which can be very toxic to the lungs. Therefore, the less in the stomach, the better.

In brief: Risk of aspiration

General anesthesia is usually administered by placing a breathing tube down your throat into the trachea ("windpipe") after which an inhalational anesthetic can be given.
When performing this, you are at risk for the contents of your stomach "regurgitating" up into the mouth and down the windpipe, which can be very toxic to the lungs. Therefore, the less in the stomach, the better.
Dr. Barry Rosen
Dr. Barry Rosen
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Dr. David Edsall
Anesthesiology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: CLEAR FLIUDS oK

When u fast u produce more acid volume.
Clear fluids will reduce the amount and strength of the acid even up to one hour before surgery will reduce nausea, -easier to start I.V.-more stable blood pressure. Drink enough so that u r not thirsty before u arrive at the hospital. Clear this with your anesthesiolofigsit or they may cancel.. Npo midnight is 20 yrs out of date.

In brief: CLEAR FLIUDS oK

When u fast u produce more acid volume.
Clear fluids will reduce the amount and strength of the acid even up to one hour before surgery will reduce nausea, -easier to start I.V.-more stable blood pressure. Drink enough so that u r not thirsty before u arrive at the hospital. Clear this with your anesthesiolofigsit or they may cancel.. Npo midnight is 20 yrs out of date.
Dr. David Edsall
Dr. David Edsall
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1 comment
Dr. Kamel Ghandour
Dr. Edsall is right. We are updating our understanding of the appropriate fasting before and operation or anesthesia. For now, if you follow your nurses and doctors directions and drink clear transparent liquids up to two (2) hours before your operation you should be fine.
Dr. Edwin Perez
Pain Management

In brief: Up to 2 hours before

You can up to 2 hours before.
Why not...Because sometimes what is in your stomach comes up during anesthesia and could go into your lungs. Water in your lungs is not a good idea unless your a fish.

In brief: Up to 2 hours before

You can up to 2 hours before.
Why not...Because sometimes what is in your stomach comes up during anesthesia and could go into your lungs. Water in your lungs is not a good idea unless your a fish.
Dr. Edwin Perez
Dr. Edwin Perez
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Dr. Richard Pollard
Anesthesiology

In brief: 2 hours before

You can drink clear liquids up until tho hours before your operation.
Check with your anesthesiologist on this. After this period there is a chance that some of the liquid is left in the stomach at induction. This could aspirate into your lungs during induction in a catastrophic manner. Hence we are rather serious about what and when you can drink. I hope that this answers your question.

In brief: 2 hours before

You can drink clear liquids up until tho hours before your operation.
Check with your anesthesiologist on this. After this period there is a chance that some of the liquid is left in the stomach at induction. This could aspirate into your lungs during induction in a catastrophic manner. Hence we are rather serious about what and when you can drink. I hope that this answers your question.
Dr. Richard Pollard
Dr. Richard Pollard
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