Exercise Electrocardiography Extinguishes Persistent Junctional Rhythm in a Patient with Severe Anorexia Nervosa
Among psychiatric conditions, anorexia nervosa carries the highest mortality, in part due to the propensity for rhythm disturbances among patients with advanced disease. Patients with anorexia nervosa are prone to both bradycardia and tachyarrhythmias, though mortality has not been associated with the former. To date, only one case of junctional rhythm in the setting of anorexia nervosa has been previously described, which was unremitting and required prolonged hospitalization. We report a case of persistent accelerated junctional rhythm where a formal exercise electrocardiography study demonstrated rapid reversion to sinus rhythm with graded exercise. Despite a 22-day hospitalization the patient never reverted permanently to sinus rhythm. This underscores the heightened vagal tone that may be seen among patients with severe anorexia nervosa. Despite this, it may be rapidly extinguished with sympathetic overdrive during exercise. In this context, exercise electrocardiography appears to be a safe, noninvasive means of assessing cardiac conduction and chronotropic reserve in this population.