The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of preoperative anxiety on the gastric pH and volume. We studied 96 female patients aged 16-60 yr who underwent elective gynecological surgery. We classified the subjects into 2 groups, those presenting preoperative anxiety scores using visual analogue scale (VAS, 0-10) less than 5 (L-group, n=59), and those with 5 and more (H-group, n=37). Immediately after tracheal intubation, gastric contents were aspirated using a 14-F multiorifice nasogastric tube. The gastric acidity and volume of the two groups were not statistically different. Mean pH were 3.0±1.8 and 3.0±2.0 in each group (L-group and H-group) and mean gastric volume (mL) were 15.3±11.7 and 11.8±11.8, respectively. Nine (15.3%) patients in the L-group were considered to be 'at risk i.e. gastric pH 25 mL' and one patient (2.7%) in the H-group (p<0.05). The mean serum gastrin concentrations in both groups were similar (21.6±9.8 vs. 20.2±11.0 pg/mL). The pH and volume of preoperative gastric contents were not correlated with the preoperative anxiety. The results suggest that a low level of preoperative anxiety can be considered a risk factor for aspiration pneumonitis.
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