Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

An update on the medical consequences of anorexia nervosa

Chidiac, Carole Wehbe

doi: 10.1097/MOP.0000000000000755
ADOLESCENT MEDICINE: Edited by Sara F. Forman and Sarah Pitts

Purpose of review The diagnosis of anorexia nervosa is associated with the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, mainly caused by medical complications.

The purpose of this article is to review the common medical consequences of anorexia nervosa focusing on the special considerations related to children and adolescents and recent updates on the pathophysiology of these complications and their prognosis significance.

Recent findings The main findings were related to the diagnostic and prognostic value of hypokalaemia, QTc prolongation, hypoglycaemia and orthostatic changes. A new modality to evaluate the heart in anorexia nervosa was explored (2DSTE) as well. Bone mineral density (BMD) loss is one of the few nonreversible consequences of anorexia nervosa. BMD loss does not seem to be significantly related to sex or to cut-off low-weight parameters in teenagers with anorexia nervosa, but rather to the amount of weight loss they have experienced. Brain volume deficits might be another irreversible complication in adolescents with anorexia nervosa.

Summary It is crucial for any healthcare provider to be informed about the medical consequences of anorexia nervosa, not only because they can be devastating, but also because they can play an essential role in motivating patients to get treated.

GMCCLINICS and Medical Department of the Eating Disorder Unit at The American Centre of Psychiatry and Neurology ACPN, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Correspondence to Carole Wehbe Chidiac, GMCCLINICS, Jumeirah Branch, 11962 Dubai, UAE. Tel: +97 1504545522; e-mail:

Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.