Brazilian Journal of Anesthesiology
Brazilian Journal of Anesthesiology
Clinical Research

Reinforcing the valuable role of gastric ultrasound for volume and content assessment: an observational study

Elena Segura-Grau; Ana Segura-Grau; Ricardo Araújo; Guillermo Payeras; Jorge Cabral; Vera Afreixo

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Pulmonary aspiration is one of the most important complications in anesthesiology. Assessment of gastric content by ultrasound is a good method to quantify gastric volume and to determine the risk of intraoperative pulmonary aspiration. The aim of this study is to determine the accuracy of the gastric ultrasonography in the qualitative analysis of gastric content, mainly in the analysis of small amounts of liquid content.

Gastric ultrasound was performed to 36 patients before upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (UGI), making two longitudinal scans at the epigastric level, one in supine position and the other in right lateral decubitus position, measuring two diameters and the area of the gastric antrum and assessing the content characteristics determining whether it was an empty stomach or contained fluid or solid content. Subsequently, the ultrasound findings were compared with UGI findings.

Gastric areas were analyzed by the trace and the lengths of the craniocaudal and anteroposterior axes concluding that there are no significant differences between the two methods. No statistically significant difference was found between UGI and US assessment technics. No statistically significant difference was found between the estimated volume by UGI and US.

Though our study has some limitations, qualitative analysis of gastric content using ultrasound followed by endoscopy enabled the conclusion that there are no differences in the qualitative assessment regarding these two techniques, supporting the important role of point-of-care gastric ultrasound (POCGUS) in the assessment of pulmonary aspiration risk by the anesthesiologist in the perioperative period.


Gastric antrum;  Pulmonary aspiration;  Gastric ultrasound;  Point of care ultrasound;  Gastric volume


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