Delirium and refeeding syndrome in anorexia nervosa

Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
International Journal of Eating Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.13). 04/2012; 45(3):439-42. DOI: 10.1002/eat.20963
Source: PubMed


To review the literature on delirium and refeeding syndrome in patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) and present case examples in an attempt to identify common clinical features and response to therapy.
A comprehensive literature review was completed. In addition to the cases identified in the literature, we present two additional cases of our own.
We identified a total of 10 cases (all female; mean age 19 years old, range 12-29 years); 2/3 of the cases had similar clinical features predating the delirium and during refeeding.
Delirium, albeit rare, can be associated with the refeeding syndrome in low weight patients with AN. During the initial refeeding phase, close monitoring of medical, metabolic, and psychological parameters are important in establishing factors that may elevate risk. Early detection and treatment of delirium using nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic means are also important to help minimize the effects of this potentially deadly condition.

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Available from: Leora Pinhas, Jul 23, 2014
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    • "Hypophosphatemia can also cause rhabdomyolysis , which may be asymptomatic, manifested only by an increase in serum creatine phosphokinase, or may cause severe muscle pain and weakness or acute renal tubular necrosis. Hypophosphatemia can cause a range of impaired neurologic functions including confusion, delirium, seizures, tetany, or coma [11] [13]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Refeeding hypophosphatemia in hospitalized adolescents with anorexia nervosa is correlated with degree of malnutrition. Therefore, when initiating nutritional rehabilitation, clinicians should have a heightened awareness of the possibility of refeeding hypophosphatemia in severely malnourished patients (<70% median body mass index).
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of Adolescent Health
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    ABSTRACT: Anorexia nervosa exhibits one of the highest death rates among psychiatric patients and a relevant fraction of it is derived from undernutrition. Nutritional and medical treatment of extreme undernutrition present two very complex and conflicting tasks: (1) to avoid "refeeding syndrome" caused by a too fast correction of malnutrition; and (2) to avoid "underfeeding" caused by a too cautious refeeding. To obtain optimal treatment results, the caloric intake should be planned starting with indirect calorimetry measurements and electrolyte abnormalities accurately controlled and treated. This article reports the case of an anorexia nervosa young female affected by extreme undernutrition (BMI 9.6 kg/m(2)) who doubled her admission body weight (from 22.5 kg to 44 kg) in a reasonable time with the use of enteral tube feeding for gradual correction of undernutrition. Refeeding syndrome was avoided through a specialized and flexible program according to clinical, laboratory, and physiological findings.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Clinical Medicine Insights: Case Reports
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the effect of higher caloric intake on weight gain, length of stay (LOS), and incidence of hypophosphatemia, hypomagnesemia, and hypokalemia in adolescents hospitalized with anorexia nervosa. Electronic medical records of all subjects 10-21 years of age with anorexia nervosa, first admitted to a tertiary children's hospital from Jan 2007 to Dec 2011, were retrospectively reviewed. Demographic factors, anthropometric measures, incidence of hypophosphatemia (≤3.0 mg/dL), hypomagnesemia (≤1.7 mg/dL), and hypokalemia (≤3.5 mEq/L), and daily change in percent median body mass index (BMI) (%mBMI) from baseline were recorded. Subjects started on higher-calorie diets (≥1,400 kcal/d) were compared with those started on lower-calorie diets (<1,400 kcal/d). A total of 310 subjects met eligibility criteria (age, 16.1 ± 2.3 years; 88.4% female, 78.5 ± 8.3 %mBMI), including 88 in the lower-calorie group (1,163 ± 107 kcal/d; range, 720-1,320 kcal/d) and 222 in the higher-calorie group (1,557 ± 265 kcal/d; range, 1,400-2,800 kcal/d). Neither group had initial weight loss. The %mBMI increased significantly (p < .001) from baseline by day 1 in the higher-calorie group and day 2 in the lower-calorie group. Compared with the lower-calorie group, the higher-calorie group had reduced LOS (13.0 ± 7.3 days versus 16.6 ± 9.0 days; p < .0001), but the groups did not differ in rate of change in %mBMI (p = .50) or rates of hypophosphatemia (p = .49), hypomagnesemia (p = 1.0), or hypokalemia (p = .35). Hypophosphatemia was associated with %mBMI on admission (p = .004) but not caloric intake (p = .14). A higher caloric diet on admission is associated with reduced LOS, but not increased rate of weight gain or rates of hypophosphatemia, hypomagnesemia, or hypokalemia. Refeeding hypophosphatemia depends on the degree of malnutrition but not prescribed caloric intake, within the range studied.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2013 · Journal of Adolescent Health
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