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[Somatic complications of anorexia nervosa in children and adolescents. Prognosis is good if the patient achieves normal weight within a couple of years]

Review article
Authors Jan Ejderhamn
Birgit Borgström
Elisabet Wentz
Published in Läkartidningen
Volume 102
Issue 36
Pages 2464-7
ISSN 0023-7205
Publication year 2005
Published at Institute for the Health of Women and Children, Dept of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Pages 2464-7
Language sv
Keywords Adolescent, Anorexia Nervosa, complications, diet therapy, physiopathology, Cardiovascular Diseases, etiology, Child, Eating, Energy Intake, Gastrointestinal Diseases, etiology, Humans, Metabolic Diseases, etiology, Prognosis, Risk Factors, Weight Gain
Subject categories Pediatrics


This article presents an overview of somatic complications in anorexia nervosa in children and adolescents. Cardiovascular-, gastrointestinal-, and endocrine- complications are often observed as a consequence of starvation in anorexia nervosa, Prolongation of QT interval can cause fatal arrhythmias. Checking levels of serum electrolytes, phosphate and magnesium daily during initial phase of refeeding is necessary to avoid the Refeeding syndrome. The activity of the thyroid gland and the gonads is depressed. The patients will remain or return to a prepubertal status with poor growth and low levels of sex hormones. This, in addition to low IGF-I, low adrenal androgens and lack of energy, may result in subnormal development of bone density. If anorexia nervosa starts early in life and continues for many years there will not be a full recovery, resulting in osteoporosis and a decrease of final height. The other complications however have a good prognosis when food intake is normalised.

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