Patient factors associated with NPO violations in a tertiary care pediatric otolaryngology practice

Billings KR, Schneider AL, Safri S, Kauffunger L, Valika T.

Laryngoscope Investig Otolaryngol.. 2020 Oct 21; 5(6):1227-1232


Objectives: To determine demographic and patient variables associated with nothing by mouth (NPO) violations prior to surgery in a tertiary care pediatric hospital.

Methods: A retrospective study of patients <18 years of age undergoing elective surgery at a tertiary care children's hospital from 1/1/16 to 4/30/19 who violated their NPO guidelines was performed. Variables associated with a higher rate of NPO violations were analyzed among the different surgical sub-specialties. Additional analyses were performed comparing those with NPO violations to the total group of patients undergoing surgery in the study period.

Results: Of the 42 495 children who underwent elective surgical procedures in the study period, 625 (1.5%) committed NPO violations. The median age for those committing a violation was 3 years, and the majority (n = 421, 67.4%) were between 0 and 6 years of age. Otolaryngology patients committing NPO violations had a longer time between scheduling surgery and operative date than other surgical services (P < .0001), but a similar time as the urology service. Otolaryngology patients had the highest number of NPO violations (n = 245, 39.2%) compared to the other surgical services, despite doing 32.4% of the total surgical cases (P < .001). Children from Spanish-speaking homes accounted for 137 (21.9%) NPO violations, despite accounting for only 11.2% of total surgeries performed. Patients with Medicaid insurance (n = 438, 63.0%) had a higher rate of NPO violations, despite making up 43.6% of total patients.

Conclusions: NPO violations occurred in 1.5% of patients during the study period, particularly among the youngest age range of the children analyzed, and they were most prevalent in the otolaryngology patients. Spanish speaking families, and those with Medicaid insurance had higher rates of NPO violations despite making up a smaller percentage of those being operated on overall. This highlighted the need for improvement in communication of fasting guidelines to caregivers.

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