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Ann Ital Med Int. 2005 Jul-Sep;20(3):158-66.

[Clinical nutritional outcome in patients recovering in a psychiatric setting from severe protein-energy malnutrition of anorexia nervosa].

[Article in Italian]

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Centro Interuniversitario di Studi e Ricerche sull'Obesità ed i Disturbi del Comportamento Alimentare, Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale, Università degli Studi Federico II, Napoli.


Protein energy malnutrition due to anorexia nervosa, either restrictive or bulimic, requires an integrated medical psychiatric intervention to be treated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of this integrated treatment in severely malnourished anorectic patients requiring to be hospitalized in Psychiatry Unit. Fifteen patients (14 females, 1 male, mean age 19.6 +/- 4.7 years, body mass index 14.0 +/- 1.9 kg/m2) 13 of whom affected by restrictive anorexia nervosa and 2 by bulimic anorexia nervosa, have been hospitalized in the Psychiatry Unit of the Federico II University Hospital, Naples from September 2000 to July 2003, always without requiring compulsory sanitary treatment. Hospitalization was due to failure of the outpatient treatment in all of them, complicated by uncontrolled weight loss in 7, hydroelectrolytic unbalance in 2, edema in 1 patient. All were hypotensive and 4 had marked bradycardia. Forced nutrition was never necessary. Enteral nutrition by nasogastric tube was prescribed in 4 patients, oral nutrition supplements with diet in 4 and only diet in the remaining 7. All patients received vitamin and mineral supplements, if necessary parenterally. A mild body weight increase and satisfactory normalization of biochemical parameters was obtained in all patients during hospitalization. Thereafter they were enrolled in an outpatient integrated medical/psychiatric protocol, including group therapy. Only in 1 case, a few months later, a second hospitalization was necessary. In conclusion, integrated medical psychiatric treatment represents an effective intervention also in severely malnourished anorectic patient requiring hospitalization.

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