Anorexia Nervosa

Liver function test abnormalities in anorexia nervosa--cause or effect

International Journal of Eating Disorders
By Philip S. Mehler, MD, FACP, FAED, CEDS


Objective: Two females with severe anorexia nervosa (BMI of 10) were seen with marked abnormalities in their liver function tests before the initiation of refeeding. These paradoxically resolved with progressive refeeding and weight restoration.

Method: Clinical observation during regimented medical stabilization and refeeding of two patients with severe anorexia nervosa with frequent monitoring of liver function tests.

Results: Normalization of liver function tests ensued as caloric intake increased and weight gain progressed.

Discussion: Although classically liver function test elevations occur during refeeding, as a manifestation of excessive calories and fat deposition in the liver, they may also be elevated due to severe malnutrition before refeeding has commenced and improved as refeeding occurs.

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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