Dark blue header graphic
Psychosomatics Cover Image
Anorexia Nervosa
Atypical Anorexia Nervosa
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

Medical Complications of anorexia nervosa, ARFID and Atypical Anorexia Nervosa

By Philip S. Mehler, MD, FACP, FAED, CEDS Kamila Cass, PhD, CEDS Medical Complications of anorexia nervosa, ARFID and Atypical Anorexia Nervosa

Cass K, Mcguire C, Sobotka N, Bjork I, Mehler PS. Medical Complications of anorexia nervosa, ARFID and  Atypical Anorexia Nervosa. Psychosomatics, 61: 625-632, 2020.


The purpose of this study was to describe the medical complications of anorexia nervosa (AN) to enable a consult-liaison psychiatrist to be familiar with these complications when involved with the care of a hospitalized patient with AN.


Comprehensive PubMed search of English language publications of adult patients with AN was carried out using keywords, phrases, and medical subject headings of anorexia nervosa–medical complications, cardiac, osteoporosis, gastrointestinal, hematological, and endocrine. The database search was restricted by time of publication of studies from 2005 to 2020.


Every organ system can be adversely affected by AN. Most are fully reversible with time and informed medical care. A multidisciplinary team is needed to optimally care for patients who are hospitalized as a result of the medical complications of their AN.


Consult-liaison psychiatrists are asked to help in the care of patients with AN who are admitted to a hospital because of a medical complication of their illness. Being familiar with these complications and their treatments will optimize their hospital stays and the care provided. In addition, involving other relevant ancillary services is an important care consideration.

Written by

Kamila Cass, PhD, CEDS

Dr. Kamila Cass is a Clinical Psychologist at the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders at Denver Health, providing psychodiagnostic assessment, individual and group psychotherapy, and crisis intervention services to individuals with severe eating and feeding disorders

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.

Center of Excellence Logo