Background: oral hydration has typically not been administered for between 4 and 6 hours postoperative for children’s safety. But children are more likely to suffer from apnea, crying and agitation, wound bleeding, and other complications during the post-anesthesia recovery period because of thirsty and fear. This Prospective, randomized study sought to assess the compare the early and late oral hydration (EOH and DOH, respectively) in children following general anesthesia, with the goal of assessing relative safety and tolerability and thereby improving patient comfort.
Methods : A total of 2,000 children corresponding to the American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA) I-III were randomized into an EOH group (n=1000) and a DOH group (n=1000). For the former group, children were administered a small amount of drinking water following recovery of the swallowing reflex, and children's vital signs were monitored for 20 minutes in a postanesthesia care unit (PACU). DOH group patients received water at 4 h following general anesthesia). All patients underwent monitoring to assess their thirst, satisfaction, oropharyngeal discomfort, nausea, and vomiting.
Results: Complete data were collected from a total of 1770 patients (EOH=832, DOH=938) and was compared via chi-squared and t-tests as appropriate. There was no hypoxemia in either group, nor did the incidence of nausea and vomiting differ between the two groups (P>0.05). The thirst score of the EOH group was significantly decreased relative to the DOH group in the children over 5 years old after drinking for 10 to 20 minutes (P<0.05).
Conclusions: For children undergoing general anesthesia, a small amount of drinking water in the early stages of recovery will not increase the incidence of nausea, vomiting, or hypoxemia, but will decrease thirst and improve satisfaction. It is important, however, that medical staff carefully monitor the swallowing reflex and vital signs of all children.