A study of patient attitudes towards fasting prior to intravenous sedation for dental treatment in a dental hospital department

Gerald McKenna, Sarah Manton, Avril Neilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


INTRODUCTION: Intravenous sedation is the most commonly used method of sedation for the provision of adult dental care. However, disparity exists in pre-operative fasting times in use for patients throughout the United Kingdom.

AIMS: The aims of the study were to obtain information on the effects of existing extended pre-operative fasting regimens, to canvas patient opinions on the fasting process, and to record their positive and negative experiences associated with it.

METHODS: A prospective cross-sectional descriptive study using survey methodology was conducted of adult patients attending a dental hospital for operative treatment under intravenous sedation. Sixty-four questionnaires were distributed over a four-month period, beginning 2nd October 2007.

RESULTS: The surveyed patient pool consisted of 38 females and 14 males with a mean age of 32.4 years. The response rate achieved was 81.2%. Seventy-one per cent of patients indicated that normally they consumed something for breakfast, the most common items being tea and toast. Fifty-one per cent of patients indicated that they would wish to eat the same as normal prior to their appointment and 59% wished to drink as normal. Only 19% of respondents reported that they did not wish to eat anything, with 8% preferring not to drink anything at all. Seventy-nine per cent of the patients reported that they had experienced at least one adverse symptom after fasting and 42% had experienced two or more such symptoms. In general, those patients with more experience of sedation found fasting less unpleasant than those attending for the first time (P<0.05). In addition, one-quarter of all patients indicated that the fasting process had made them feel more nervous about their sedation appointment.

CONCLUSIONS: The extended fasting regimen prior to intravenous sedation appeared to affect patients' wellbeing, as the majority reported adverse symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-11
Number of pages7
JournalPrimary Dental Care : Journal of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners (UK)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


  • Adult
  • Anesthesia, Dental
  • Anesthesia, Intravenous
  • Attitude to Health
  • Conscious Sedation
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Anxiety
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Questionnaires


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