Research indicates that boosting nutrition can help surgical patients heal faster, pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories said in a recent release.
"Preparing your body for surgery is similar to training for a marathon," Christina Sherry, an Abbott scientist and dietitian, said in the release. "Just like you wouldn't fast before a big race, you want to prepare your body to have the strength and energy needed for a major procedure.”
As a result, Abbott said it is marketing new Ensure drinks and shakes designed to fortify the body ahead of a potentially traumatic operation. The products, Ensure Surgery Immunonutrition Shake and Ensure Pre-Surgery Clear Nutrition Drink, allow patients to have something in their stomachs before undergoing a procedure.
The advice to drink before surgery, however, flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which often encourages patients to keep their stomachs empty before going undergoing an operation.
But Duke University Hospital Anesthesiologist Paul Wischmeyer was quoted in Abbott’s press release as saying winds have shifted.
"Given the evidence we have today, all patients undergoing a major surgery in the U.S. should have a nutrition assessment and be given the proper nutrition that will help them recover," Wischmeyer said in the release. "The medical community needs to come together and abandon the current practice of preoperative fasting after midnight so we can help give our patients the best chances of success and get them back to enjoying their everyday activities."
The immunonutrition shake contains 18 grams of protein and other ingredients to facilitate healing and stop infection, while the pre-surgery drink offers 50 grams of complex carbohydrates to reduce the risk of post-operative complications.