Our anaesthetists aim to put your mind at ease in the lead-up to your operation or procedure. Please read our FAQs, but if you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact us, our staff will be happy to speak with you.

Why do I have to fast?

People under a general anaesthetic no longer have reflexes that protect the lungs (such as coughing), so if anything from the stomach enters the lungs (e.g. in the case of vomiting) the lungs can be damaged. The best way to prevent this serious complication is to go under the anaesthetic with an empty stomach.

Even if you are only planning to have sedation, a spinal or epidural anaesthetic, it is safer to fast for a few hours before the procedure. You will receive more detailed instructions about fasting closer to your procedure, but in general the fasting period starts at midnight before a morning procedure, or at 7am before an afternoon procedure.

Special fasting rules apply to children as well as patients with diabetes. You will receive instructions about fasting from the admissions unit at the hospital in the days before your procedure.

Please note that even when you are fasting you may take your usual medications with a small mouthful of water if needed.

Can I take my regular medications on the day of my operation?

As a general rule, you should take your usual medications on the day of surgery, even though you may be fasting. It is OK to have a small glass of water to help you swallow them. This is particularly important for blood pressure medications.

What if I take blood-thinning medication?

If you take medication to thin your blood (anticoagulants, aspirin or anti-platelet drugs) you will be provided with special instructions. Please consult with your surgeon or anaesthetist at least a week before your procedure if you are on any of the following:

  • Warfarin (Coumadin, Marevan)
  • Clopidogrel (Plavix, Iscover, Coplavix)
  • Rivaroxaban (Xarelto)
  • Dabigatran (Pradaxa)
  • Heparin
  • Aspirin

When will I receive my bill?

Your account is processed following your procedure. This takes approximately four weeks so you should receive your account four to six weeks after your procedure.