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Nutritious drink helps patients set for surgery

/ 12:39 AM November 23, 2013

Patients have long been told not to eat or drink for hours before surgery to avoid the risk of pulmonary aspiration, a condition wherein stomach contents are accidentally inhaled into the lungs.

Aspiration, which may happen during general anesthesia procedure, is often blamed for the development of serious or even fatal complications—such as bacterial pneumonia—among patients who just got out of surgery.

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In fact, this medical protocol has been observed for more than 100 years and a number of patients often end up having to fast, leaving them immobilized in bed for days.

Despite some studies that have suggested that light meals and liquids are not harmful before surgery, and that fasting can sometimes cause adverse effects, many hospital guidelines still continue to insist on complete fasting.

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In 1996, Dr. M. Lou Marsh, a physician at San Diego, California, came up with an idea to produce a nutritious drink that would prevent patients from experiencing hunger and dehydration when they fast before surgery. The product, which later became known as BevMD Clearfast, offers the right carbohydrates to safely clear the system prior to surgery while reducing the metabolic stress of surgery.

International study

Rene Bocaya, who markets the product here, said: “Patients, as a result, are more comfortable going into surgery and postoperative complications are diminished, resulting in shorter hospital stays and overall reduced healthcare costs. Besides, international studies have now proven that having patients consume three servings of a carbohydrate-rich beverage over the two to 12 hours prior to surgery can reduce serious postoperative complications.”

He added that the big fear that a patient under anesthesia might vomit and aspirate, has now been solved, thanks to modern anesthetics and better methods of administering them.

Bocaya also related that the maker of BevMD Clearfast in San Diego, California, conducted a clinical trial for the product in 2010 and found that the patients drinking the product versus going with nothing by mouth had a 550 percent better likelihood of saying they were more comfortable going into surgery. Three hundred twenty patients were involved in the study.

In another study conducted with an assistant nursing professor Jeannette Crenshaw at Texas Tech University Health, 168 of the 300 participants who received ClearFast experienced significantly reduced overall discomfort, thirst, nausea, fasting anxiety, hunger and surgical anxiety than the 129 who fasted from midnight.

“Indeed, there’s no reason for one to starve oneself when being scheduled for surgery. The consequences of prolonged fasting not only lead to hunger, thirst and irritability but researchers noted that some fasting patients also suffered from headaches, dehydration, low blood volume and low blood sugar. The patient or the family should discuss this issue with the doctor concerned,” Bocaya suggested.

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TAGS: fasting, health and wellness, medical protocol, pulmonary aspiration, Surgery
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