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ASA: Early Postsurgical Food Intake Beneficial to Children

Liberal policy linked to improved recovery and no increase in incidence of postoperative vomiting

MONDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- In children who undergo surgery, early postoperative oral intake of food and drink is associated with improved recovery, according to research presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists annual meeting held Oct. 18 to 22 in Orlando, Fla.

Oliver C. Radke, M.D., of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues randomly assigned 147 urologic patients aged 16 or younger to either remain without food or drink for six hours after extubation (conservative group) or to eat and drink as soon as they wished (liberal group).

Compared to the conservative group, the researchers found that the liberal group initiated fluid and food intake significantly earlier (143 minutes versus 425 minutes, and 283 minutes versus 504 minutes, respectively). They also found that the liberal group was significantly more likely to report feeling "happy" after extubation.

"A liberal drinking and eating policy that takes children's needs into consideration improves recovery and does not increase the incidence of postoperative vomiting," the authors conclude. "Moreover, it seems to significantly improve the patient's well-being and might even favorably influence the perception of pain."

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