Gastric UltraSound

A Point-of-care tool for aspiration risk assessment



Gastric Ultrasound

A Point-of-care tool for aspiration risk assessment


The content of this website is updated regularly and believed to represent current state of knowledge but is provided as reference only. Any clinical decision regarding aspiration prophylaxis has to include a thorough patient assessment and consideration of the multiple factors that influence aspiration risk in addition to gastric content. Gastric ultrasound findings may be inaccurate in subjects with abnormal underlying gastric anatomy (e.g. previous gastric resection or bypass, gastric band in situ, previous fundoplication, large hiatus hernia)

Perioperative aspiration of gastric contents is a serious complication of anesthesia associated with high morbidity and mortality. Preoperative fasting guidelines help limit the risk in elective patients with minimal co-morbidities. However, fasting intervals are not applicable or reliable in urgent or emergency surgeries or for patients with certain medical conditions. Gastric ultrasound is a point-of-care tool for aspiration risk assessment. It can determine the nature of the content (empty, clear fluid, thick fluid / solid) and when clear fluid is present, its volume can be estimated.

This website contains information on the following skills:

  • Performing a standardized gastric ultrasound exam
  • Identifying the sonographic features of an empty stomach versus one with clear fluid or thick fluid/solid content
  • Measuring gastric fluid volume
  • Interpreting the findings of gastric sonography and its implications for aspiration risk assessment