Before the end of the pre-operative consultation the patient who will undergo treatment under general anesthesia is given a list of instructions to follow on the evening before and on the day of the procedure. Failure to follow these instructions, either the eating/drinking restrictions or medications and alcohol use, can cause serious complications and may be fatal.
The details of the pre-anesthesia instructions may differ from patient to patient depending on the individual’s health condition.
Typically a patient will not be allowed to eat or drink anything for several hours before anesthesia. An average of at least 6 hours fasting is required prior to the general anesthesia procedure. This period may be longer for patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or a history of vomiting.
Food and drink restrictions are necessary for reducing the possibility of regurgitation of stomach contents that can cause aspiration into the lungs with fatal consequences.
Patients are usually advised to avoid liquids and solid foods from midnight for a morning surgery or from 7 a.m. for an afternoon surgery under GA. Newer evidence suggest that having a cup of clear fluids (e.g. water or tea) up to 2 hours before GA is considered safe.
Patients who have to take any medicines on a regular basis, such as diabetes or heart medicines, will be advised if they should take them normally or not, or if the dosage has to be adjusted. Use of any other medications without approval is strictly prohibited because it can lead to unexpected behavior of the anesthetic drugs.
Do not consume alcohol or smoke for 24 hours prior to your operation. Patients with respiratory problems should stop smoking for several days before treatment to reduce the risk of complications due to general anesthesia.
You must arrange for an adult friend or relative to be available to drive you home after the procedure.
Anesthesiologists may prescribe or administer a premedication prior to administration of a general anesthetic. Anesthetic premedication may consist of a drug or combination of drugs that improve the effects of the anesthetic drugs or prevent side effects and complications. Medications may be given before anesthesia for many reasons, in order to achieve: