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Easy Way to Prevent Post-Op Nausea?

Administering dextrose right after surgery quells upset stomach, researchers say

MONDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that patients need not fear post-operative nausea and vomiting as much if they take dextrose, a form of glucose.

"As one of the most common post-operative complications, [vomiting and nausea] remains one of the main causes of decreased patient satisfaction following surgery," said Dr. Susan Dabu-Bondoc of Yale School of Medicine, one of the authors of a new study, in a statement. "Along with discomfort, the adverse effects can be extensive and may include aspiration, wound suture opening, prolonged hospital stays, unanticipated admission after outpatient surgery and delayed return of a patient's ability to function in daily activities."

The researchers, who were to release their findings Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in New Orleans, report that they assigned half of 56 surgery patients to receive dextrose immediately after their operations. The other half got a placebo.

The patients were scheduled for gynecologic laparoscopic and hysteroscopic procedures. All patients were treated with general anesthesia and received a dose of a drug called an antiemetic, which can prevent some nausea and vomiting.

The researchers found that those who received the dextrose were at much lower risk of developing nausea and vomiting. They were also discharged from a post-operative care unit more quickly than the others.

"In light of the ease and low risk of administration of dextrose postoperatively and its apparent benefit to patient care and satisfaction, this therapeutic treatment should be considered in an attempt to prevent or reduce [vomiting and nausea] for patients in the immediate recovery period, " said Dabu-Bondoc.

She called for more research to understand exactly how administering dextrose prevents nausea and vomiting.

More information

For more about anesthesia, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: American Society of Anesthesiologists, news release, Oct. 18, 2009

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