Expertise in Refeeding Underweight Patients

Traditional medical settings, even many residential eating disorder treatment programs, are unlikely to have specific expertise in the medical complications that occur when refeeding extremely underweight patients.  

For severely malnourished patients with a BMI < 15, it may be necessary to initiate nutritional rehabilitation on ACUTE’s specialized inpatient medical unit with robust training and expertise in navigating the medical pitfalls of refeeding. The only Center of Excellence medical telemetry unit of its kind, ACUTE’s experts across several disciplines—internal medicine, nursing, and dietary--carefully initiate nutritional replenishment with concurrent blood chemistry and vitals monitoring, tailored to each patient’s unique needs and risk factors. Alongside world-class medically supervised refeeding, ACUTE delivers behavioral support simultaneously to help patients with severe eating disorders psychiatrically stabilize as they heal physically.  

Managing Blood Chemistry Abnormalities

There is complex interplay among potassium, phosphorus and other key electrolytes in the refeeding process. As calories are reintroduced, it is essential to monitor phosphorus, potassium and other electrolyte levels in the body. For example, a drop in phosphorus in the blood, or hypophosphatemia, is a key precursor for refeeding syndrome and if not repleted can lead to seizures, confusion, muscle weakness and heart failure.

Avoiding Refeeding Syndrome

Increasing caloric intake without proper blood monitoring too quickly can result in refeeding syndrome, a dangerous metabolic imbalance marked by a shift in fluids and electrolytes within the body that can lead to heart failure.

Feeding Tubes for Severe Anorexia and ARFID

Gastrointestinal medical complications of eating disorders like gastroparesis and slowed colonic transit can cause physical discomfort associated with ingesting food, while psychological distress from increasing caloric intake can be overwhelming to patients with severe and extreme eating disorders. When utilized as a supplement to or in place of normal oral refeeding, feeding tubes for severe anorexia and ARFID can help facilitate nutritional rehabilitation for these extremely ill patients. ACUTE is capable of any form of oral, enteral or parenteral feeding.  These methods of refeeding, alongside vitals and responsive blood chemistry monitoring, are valuable interventions for individuals for whom oral nutritional rehabilitation alone is insufficient or intolerable.

Expertise in Medically Complicated Refeeding

ACUTE’s expertise in refeeding patients with severely low body weight and complex behavioral symptoms of eating disorders is second-to-none. Patients — adults and adolescents of all genders — come to ACUTE from across the country and around the world to benefit from its depth of expertise in this rare medical specialty.  

Safely refeeding patients with severe eating disorders is essential — entrust your survival and recovery to ACUTE’s expert specialists.   

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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