UIC Hospital eases patients' pre-surgery protocol

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Preparing for surgery is getting a little easier for patients having surgery at UIC Hospital. It is one of a few hospitals in Illinois that does not require their patients to fast (WLS)

Preparing for surgery is getting a little easier for patients having surgery at UIC Hospital. It is one of a few hospitals in Illinois that does not require their patients to fast the night before a procedure.

Anne Krajacic is a nurse, but undergoing surgery is scary even for her. As she prepared for one a few years ago, Krajacic was instructed with the standard pre-surgical protocol, no food or liquids after midnight the night before surgery.

"I go to surgery, wake up in the recovery room, I was so nauseous. I wanted to vomit," said Krajacic.

Being a nurse, Krajacic knew she was dehydrated. Because of it, her stay in the recovery room was longer and she was still nauseous when sent home.

"Historically, the standard of care we've done is effectively starve and dehydrate patients as a matter of course no matter what time their surgery is scheduled for that day," said Dr. Ari Rubenfeld of the UIC College of Medicine.

But Rubenfeld says anesthesia has changed. Starving and dehydrating patients before surgery is no longer necessary. UIC hospital has changed its pre-surgery protocol for all patients undergoing procedures that involve anesthesia.

"We are one of the few hospitals in the State of Illinois that have systematically governed patients to be taking fluids close prior to surgery," he said.

UIC patients can drink clear fluids for up to two hours before surgery, including coffee without cream, tea, water, juices without pulp and, ideally, a sports drink. UIC gives its surgical patients Gatorade.

Krajacic underwent a second surgery, where the new protocol made a huge difference.

"When I woke up I was ecstatic. It was like night and day: No nausea, I was out of the recovery room in a short time and home by the end of the day," she said.

About 98 percent of UIC surgical patients now follow the new protocol.
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healthhospitalsurgerydoctorsnursesChicagoUniversity VillageTri-Taylor
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