Anorexia Nervosa

Cardiac changes in anorexia nervosa

Cardiology in the Young
By Philip S. Mehler, MD, FACP, FAED, CEDS

Abstract

Introduction Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder, which is associated with many different medical complications as a result of the weight loss and malnutrition that characterise this illness. It has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. A large portion of deaths are attributable to the cardiac abnormalities that ensue as a result of the malnutrition associated with anorexia nervosa. In this review, the cardiac complications of anorexia nervosa will be discussed.

Methods: A comprehensive literature review on cardiac changes in anorexia nervosa was carried out.

Results: There are structural, functional, and rhythm-type changes that occur in patients with anorexia nervosa. These become progressively significant as ongoing weight loss occurs.

Conclusion: Cardiac changes are inherent to anorexia nervosa and they become more life-threatening and serious as the anorexia nervosa becomes increasingly severe. Weight restoration and attention to these cardiac changes are crucial for a successful treatment outcome.

Written by

Philip S. Mehler, MD, FACP, FAED, CEDS

Dr. Philip S. Mehler began his career at Denver Health more than 35 years ago and was formerly its Chief of Internal Medicine and then Denver Health’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) until he was promoted…

ACUTE Earns Prestigious Center of Excellence Designation from Anthem
In 2018, the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders & Severe Malnutrition at Denver Health was honored by Anthem Health as a Center of Excellence for Medical Treatment of Severe and Extreme Eating Disorders. ACUTE is the first medical unit ever to achieve this designation in the field of eating disorders. It comes after a rigorous review process.

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