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A Journal on Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Dietetics

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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2006 December;52(4):431-5

language: English

Chronic anorexia nervosa: enteral nutrition via percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy and liaison psychiatry

Malfi G. 1, Agnello E. 1, Da Pont M. C. 1, Palmo A. 1, Zullo G. 2, Monero A. 2, Macario P. F. 2, Sterpone S. 2, Munno D. 2

1 Department of Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition San Giovanni Battista Hospital, Turin, Italy
2 Department of Neuroscience Section of Psychiatry Service of Clinical Psychology University of Turin, Italy


Anorexia nervosa is a complex mental disorder characterized by altered eating behaviour often resulting in life-threatening weight loss (<85% of expected body weight) associated with amenorrhea and a disturbance of body image. Although classified as mental health disorders, they may lead to serious medical consequences and have the highest rate of premature death of any mental health diagnosis. We report our experience with the use of enteral feeding via percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy in a 39-year-old woman with chronic restricter anorexia nervosa treated in liaison psychiatry and psychotherapy. On admission to psychiatry unit, the patient presented seriously deteriorated general condition and a body mass index (BMI) of 10 (BMI = weight kg/height m2). She refused oral feeding, but eventually accepted nasogastric feeding. In preparation for her continuing long-term (>1 month) enteral feeding at home, a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy was performed and a home nutrition support regimen that met her energy-protein intake requirements was prescribed. During the follow-up period, an overall improvement in nutritional status, general condition, mood and cognitive functioning was observed. Patient compliance with refeeding is notoriously problematic; however, enteral feeding interventions may be feasible in the long-term treatment of selected anorexia nervosa patients when closely followed-up by a multidisciplinary medical team.

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