Run Time: 3 minutes
Author: Dr. Mark Kozlowski
- NPO or nil per os is a medical instruction meaning the patient should not have any food or drink orally.
- At Vanderbilt Medical Center, the nursing staff initiated a change in the NPO status from everyone has to be NPO to no one needs to be NPO in the emergency department.
- Patients are usually kept NPO because they may need surgery. The number of people who come in alert and oriented and end up in surgery is incredibly low. As well as this, anesthesia guidelines recommend NPO status for two hours prior to surgery.
- If the patient has normal mental status, have not had a stroke, and they are able to swallow they should be able to drink water and have ice chips.