A light breakfast has been found to empty from the stomach within four hours in healthy volunteers.
The aim of this study was to investigate if a light breakfast of yoghurt or gruel empties from the stomach within four hours, in children scheduled for general anaesthesia.
In this observational cohort study, children aged 1‐6 years, scheduled for elective general anaesthesia were prescribed free intake of yoghurt or gruel four hours prior to induction. They were subsequently examined with gastric ultrasound within four hours of ingestion. In case of gastric contents, the gastric antral area was measured, and gastric content volume was calculated.
Twenty children were included in the study and the ingested amount of gruel or yoghurt ranged 2.5‐25 ml kg‐1. In 15 cases, the stomach was empty with juxtaposed walls and no further measurements were made. In four cases, there was fluid present in the stomach, but the calculated gastric contents were < 0.5 ml kg‐1. One patient had solids in the stomach and gastric content volume in this patient was calculated to 2.1 ml kg‐1. The patient with solids present had ingested 25 ml kg‐1 of gruel four hours prior to assessment. The planned procedure was therefore delayed one hour. There were no cases of pulmonary aspiration or vomiting.
A light breakfast four hours prior to induction may be considered, but there is need for further studies on safe limits for the volume ingested.