February 19, 2024

Gastric Ultrasound for Aspiration Risk Determination

Written by: Trisha Reo AAS, RDMS, RVT

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Gastric Ultrasound for Aspiration Risk Determination

Recently, drugs designed to treat diabetes, such as semaglutide (Ozempic and Wegovy), and tirzepatide (Mounjaro), have been blowing up on the news and social media outlets as popular weight-loss drugs. These medications are glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists and stimulate the excretion of insulin, resulting in delayed gastric emptying. This delayed gastric emptying leaves the patient feeling fuller longer, therefore reducing hunger and caloric intake, which thus allows the patient to lose weight without feeling deprived.

Growing evidence supports that these drugs also delay gastric emptying despite fasting. There have been numerous case studies showing pulmonary aspiration occurrences in this population during anesthesia or analgesia, posing a significant health concern during anesthesia or analgesia for a procedure or surgery because of the increased risk of gastric regurgitation and pulmonary aspiration.

What can be done to minimize risk for these patients and assess for gastric content prior to anesthesia and analgesia? Enter the GUARD Protocol, or Gastric Ultrasound for Aspiration Risk Determination! Gastric Ultrasound has been shown to be a reliable predictor of gastric volume assessment preoperatively and is easy to learn and perform.

View our “Hot Tip” video featuring our Co-Medical Director, Dr. Charlotte Derr, MD, RDMS, FPD-AEMUS as she walks you through the process of evaluating gastric contents with ultrasound and interpreting your imaging findings.

You can read a more in-depth article on Gastric Ultrasound and the GUARD protocol, written by Dr. Derr and her colleague, Dr. Allyson Hansen, DO, Ultrasound Director at the University of South Florida Emergency Medicine Program. HERE

If you would like to learn more about gastric ultrasound, ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia and/or Nerve Block for Emergency Medicine Applications, click the following link to view our full course calendar and find more information about our upcoming courses on these topics. Gulfcoast Ultrasound Institute is here to keep you on top of emerging technology, trends, and health concerns in this ever-evolving practice of medicine!

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About the Author

Trisha Reo AAS, RDMS, RVT

Trisha is the Program Coordinator at Gulfcoast Ultrasound Institute, Inc.

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