The role of perioperative chewing gum on gastric fluid volume and gastric pH: A meta-analysis

Jean Pierre P. Ouanes, Mark C. Bicket, Brandon Togioka, Vicente Garcia Tomas, Christopher L. Wu, Jamie D. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Study objective To determine if preoperative gum chewing affects gastric pH and gastric fluid volume. Design Systematic review and meta-analysis. Methods Data sources included Cochrane, PubMed, and EMBASE databases from inception to June 2012 and reference lists of known relevant articles without language restriction. Randomized controlled trials in which a treatment group that chewed gum was compared to a control group that fasted were included. Relevant data, including main outcomes of gastric fluid volume and gastric pH, were extracted. Results Four studies involving 287 patients were included. The presence of chewing gum was associated with small but statically significant increases in gastric fluid volume (mean difference = 0.21 mL/kg; 95% confidence interval, 0.02-0.39; P =.03) but not in gastric pH (mean difference = 0.11 mL/kg; 95% confidence interval, - 0.14 to 0.36; P =.38). Gastric fluid volume and gastric pH remained unchanged in subgroup analysis by either sugar or sugarless gum type. Conclusions Chewing gum in the perioperative period causes small but statically significant increases in gastric fluid volume and no change in gastric pH. The increase in gastric fluid most likely is of no clinical significance in terms of aspiration risk for the patient. Elective surgery should not necessarily be canceled or delayed in healthy patients who accidentally chew gum preoperatively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-152
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Anesthesia
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015



  • Chewing gum
  • Gastric pH
  • Gastric volume
  • Gastrointestinal contents
  • Meta-analysis
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

Cite this