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Br J Anaesth. 2014 Feb;112(2):246-54. doi: 10.1093/bja/aet415. Epub 2013 Dec 22.

Perioperative management of severe anorexia nervosa.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and.


As the prevalence of anorexia nervosa (AN) increased, surgery in severe AN patients also increased in the 2000s. We experienced a surgical case of a patient with severe AN, showing an extremely low BMI of 8.6 kg m(-2). We investigated the problems associated with this case and propose criteria to manage severe AN. We endeavour to report on the perioperative management of rare and severe symptoms and surgical indications of severely malnourished patients. All published reports were identified through comprehensive searches using PubMed, BioMedLib, and the Japan Medical Abstracts Society with the following terms and keywords: 'anorexia nervosa', 'eating disorder', 'hypoglycaemia', 'leucocytopaenia', 'gelatinous bone marrow', 'surgery', and 'operation'. In cases of AN with a BMI under 13 kg m(-2), marked hypoglycaemia, leucocytopaenia <3.0×10(9) litre(-1), or both, potentially fatal complications frequently occur. Accordingly, patients need strict nutritional support to avoid re-feeding syndrome until surgery. During the course of anaesthesia, careless loading of glucose or catecholamine may lead to disturbance of electrolytes or fatal arrhythmia. Intensive care and early feeding as soon as possible after surgery are important to prevent surgical site infection. Although not many perioperative cases of AN have been reported, clinicians must be aware of the danger and the causes of mortality in critical cases. Thus, the decision to undertake surgery must be taken carefully and close perioperative coordination among physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, anaesthesiologists, and intensivists is essential.


complications, hypoglycaemia; complications, infections; immunology; surgery

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