NPO Guidelines

Guidelines for Adults and Teenagers

Girl drinking water

Adults and teenagers over the age of 12 may have solid foods and dairy products until 8 hours before their scheduled arrival time at the hospital or surgery center. Alcoholic beverages should be avoided within 8 hours of the scheduled arrival time.

Clear liquids – NOT milk or dairy products – are actively encouraged until 2 hours before the time the patient is scheduled to arrive at the hospital or surgery center.

Clear, see-through liquids include:

    • Water
    • Clear fruit juices such as apple juice and white cranberry juice
    • Plain tea or black coffee (NO milk or creamer)
    • Clear, electrolyte-replenishing drinks such as Pedialyte, Gatorade, or Powerade (NOT yogurt or pulp-containing “smoothies”)
    • Ensure Clear or Boost Breeze (NOT the milkshake varieties)
A glass of water.

Certain procedures may require special preoperative fasting instructions. If the patient receives separate instructions from the surgeon or the physician performing the procedure, those should be followed carefully. For example, patients undergoing colonoscopy, bariatric (obesity) surgery, or colorectal surgery may be instructed to be on a clear liquid diet for a day or more prior to surgery. Please contact the surgeon’s office with specific questions.

Here is a table to explain the timing of when to stop oral intake. The patient should look for the scheduled arrival time, and when to stop eating solid food. We encourage patients to continue to drink clear liquids as they wish until 2 hours before arriving at the hospital or surgery center.

Stop Solid Foods Drink Clear Liquids Until Arrival Time

10 p.m.

4 a.m.

6 a.m.

Midnight

6 a.m.

8 a.m.

2 a.m.

8 a.m.

10 a.m.

4 a.m.

10 a.m.

12 p.m.

6 a.m.

12 p.m.

2 p.m.

NPO Guidelines for Children and Infants