Does Aggressive Refeeding in Hospitalized Adolescents With Anorexia Nervosa Result in Increased Hypophosphatemia?

Department of Nutrition and Food Services, Royal Children's Hospital, Victoria, Australia.
Journal of Adolescent Health (Impact Factor: 3.61). 06/2010; 46(6):577-82. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2009.11.207
Source: PubMed


Concerns about refeeding syndrome have led to relatively conservative nutritional rehabilitation in malnourished inpatients with anorexia nervosa (AN), which delays weight gain. Compared to other programs, we aggressively refed hospitalized adolescents. We sought to determine the incidence of hypophosphatemia (HP) in 12-18-year-old inpatients in order to inform nutritional guidelines in this group.
A 1-year retrospective chart review was undertaken of 46 admissions (29 adolescents) with AN admitted to the adolescent ward of a tertiary children's hospital. Data collected over the initial 2 weeks included number of past admissions, nutritional intake, weight, height, body mass index, and weight change at 2 weeks. Serum phosphorus levels and oral phosphate supplementation was recorded.
The mean (SD) age was 15.7 years (1.4). The mean (SD) ideal body weight was 72.9% (9.1). Sixty-one percent of admissions were commenced on 1,900 kcal (8,000 kJ), and 28% on 2,200 kcal (9,300 kJ). Four patients were deemed at high risk of refeeding syndrome; of these patients, three were commenced on rehydration therapy and one on 1,400 kcal (6,000 kJ). All patients were graded up to 2,700 kcal (11,400 kJ) with further increments of 300 kcal (1,260 kJ) as required. Thirty-seven percent developed mild HP; no patient developed moderate or severe HP. Percent ideal body weight at admission was significantly associated with the subsequent development of HP (p = .007).
These data support more aggressive approaches to nutritional rehabilitation for hospitalized adolescents with AN compared to current recommendations and practice.

Download full-text


Available from: Susan Sawyer,
1 Follower
71 Reads
  • Source
    • "Thirty-six percent of participants (20/56) received phosphate supplementation. This is comparable to the only other published report of higher calorie meal-based refeeding: Whitelaw et al. reported that 43% of patients on a meal plan starting at 1,900 calories received phosphate [9]. In contrast to Whitelaw, however, supplementation in the present study appeared to be used prophylactically rather than to treat hypophosphatemia. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Current recommendations for refeeding in anorexia nervosa (AN) are conservative, beginning around 1,200 calories to avoid refeeding syndrome. We previously showed poor weight gain and long hospital stay using this approach and hypothesized that a higher calorie approach would improve outcomes. Adolescents hospitalized for malnutrition due to AN were included in this quasi-experimental study comparing lower and higher calories during refeeding. Participants enrolled between 2002 and 2012; higher calories were prescribed starting around 2008. Daily prospective measures included weight, heart rate, temperature, hydration markers and serum phosphorus. Participants received formula only to replace refused food. Percent Median Body Mass Index (%MBMI) was calculated using 50th percentile body mass index for age and sex. Unpaired t-tests compared two groups split at 1,200 calories. Fifty-six adolescents with mean (±SEM) age 16.2 (±.3) years and admit %MBMI 79.2% (±1.5%) were hospitalized for 14.9 (±.9) days. The only significant difference between groups (N = 28 each) at baseline was starting calories (1,764 [±60] vs. 1,093 [±28], p < .001). Participants on higher calories had faster weight gain (.46 [±.04] vs. .26 [±.03] %MBMI/day, p < .001), greater daily calorie advances (122 [±8] vs. 98 [±6], p = .024), shorter hospital stay (11.9 [±1.0] vs. 17.6 [±1.2] days, p < .001), and a greater tendency to receive phosphate supplementation (12 vs. 8 participants, p = .273). Higher calorie diets produced faster weight gain in hospitalized adolescents with AN as compared with the currently recommended lower calorie diets. No cases of the refeeding syndrome were seen using phosphate supplementation. These findings lend further support to the move toward more aggressive refeeding in AN.
    Journal of Adolescent Health 09/2013; 53(5). DOI:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.07.014 · 3.61 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Clinical confidence and coordinated multidisciplinary care can influence the course of anorexia nervosa in children and adolescents. Sicker and younger patients with anorexia nervosa often present first to a paediatrician, requiring early recognition and appropriate management. Paediatric knowledge and skills are also needed to manage the impact of eating disorders on growth and development. This review provides practical guidance on the management of anorexia nervosa for paediatricians, in the areas of assessment, acute management and re-feeding, and long-term monitoring. In the absence of a strong evidence base for some of these recommendations, local protocols based on best practice guidelines can reduce anxiety, increase cooperation and reduce risk.
    Archives of Disease in Childhood 10/2010; 96(10):977-82. DOI:10.1136/adc.2009.177394 · 2.90 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To describe the etiology and complications of the refeeding syndrome. Complications of the refeeding syndrome can include electrolyte abnormalities, heart failure, respiratory failure, and death. This syndrome is of particular importance to critically ill patients, who can be moved from the starved state to the fed state rapidly via enteral or parenteral nutrition. There are a variety of risk factors for the development of the refeeding syndrome. All of these risk factors are tied together by starvation physiology. Case reports and case series continue to be reported, suggesting that this entity continues to exist in critically ill patients. Initiation of enteral nutrition to patients with starvation physiology should be gradual and careful monitoring of electrolytes and organ function is critical during the early stages of refeeding. The refeeding syndrome remains a significant issue in critically ill patients. Knowledge of the risk factors and the clinical signs of the refeeding syndrome is important to optimize outcomes.
    03/2011; 14(2):186-92. DOI:10.1097/MCO.0b013e328341ed93
Show more