WHY NPO BEFORE SURGERY

WHY NPO BEFORE SURGERY

WHY NPO BEFORE SURGERY

NPO, which stands for "Nothing Per Os," is a common instruction given to patients before surgery. It means that the patient is not allowed to consume anything by mouth, including food, drink, or even chewing gum. This is because the stomach and intestines need to be empty during surgery to avoid complications such as aspiration, nausea, and vomiting.

Reasons for NPO Before Surgery

There are several reasons why patients are required to be NPO before surgery. These include:

1. Aspiration

Aspiration is the accidental inhalation of food, liquid, or other objects into the lungs. This can be a serious complication during surgery, as it can lead to pneumonia or even death. NPO status helps to reduce the risk of aspiration by ensuring that the stomach and intestines are empty.

2. Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of anesthesia and surgery. If the patient has food or liquid in their stomach, they are more likely to experience these symptoms. NPO status helps to reduce the risk of nausea and vomiting by allowing the stomach to rest.

3. Interference with Anesthesia

Food and liquid in the stomach can interfere with the anesthetic drugs, making them less effective. This can lead to complications during surgery, such as pain or awareness. NPO status helps to ensure that the anesthetic drugs are working properly.

Types of NPO Orders

There are two types of NPO orders:

1. Absolute NPO

An absolute NPO order means that the patient is not allowed to consume anything by mouth, including water. This is the most common type of NPO order for patients undergoing surgery.

2. Clear Liquid NPO

A clear liquid NPO order allows the patient to consume clear liquids, such as water, apple juice, and broth. This type of NPO order is sometimes used for patients who are undergoing minor surgery or who have a history of gastrointestinal problems.

How Long Should You Be NPO Before Surgery?

The length of time that you need to be NPO before surgery will vary depending on the type of surgery you are having. For most surgeries, you will need to be NPO for at least 8 hours. However, for some surgeries, you may need to be NPO for longer. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how long you need to be NPO before your surgery.

What Can You Drink When You Are NPO?

If you are on a clear liquid NPO order, you can drink clear liquids, such as water, apple juice, and broth. You can also drink carbonated beverages, such as soda and ginger ale, but you should avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol.

What Can You Eat When You Are NPO?

If you are on an absolute NPO order, you cannot eat anything. However, if you are on a clear liquid NPO order, you can eat clear liquids, such as gelatin and popsicles. You can also eat hard candy, but you should avoid candy that contains sugar or caffeine.

Conclusion

NPO before surgery is an important safety precaution that helps to reduce the risk of complications. By following your doctor's instructions on NPO, you can help to ensure that your surgery is safe and successful.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is it important to be NPO before surgery?

It is important to be NPO before surgery to reduce the risk of complications, such as aspiration, nausea, vomiting, and interference with anesthesia.

2. How long do I need to be NPO before surgery?

The length of time that you need to be NPO before surgery will vary depending on the type of surgery you are having. For most surgeries, you will need to be NPO for at least 8 hours.

3. What can I drink when I am NPO?

If you are on a clear liquid NPO order, you can drink clear liquids, such as water, apple juice, and broth. You can also drink carbonated beverages, such as soda and ginger ale, but you should avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol.

4. What can I eat when I am NPO?

If you are on an absolute NPO order, you cannot eat anything. However, if you are on a clear liquid NPO order, you can eat clear liquids, such as gelatin and popsicles. You can also eat hard candy, but you should avoid candy that contains sugar or caffeine.

5. What happens if I eat or drink something before surgery?

If you eat or drink something before surgery, you may experience complications, such as aspiration, nausea, vomiting, and interference with anesthesia. You may also need to reschedule your surgery.

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