Safe refeeding management of anorexia nervosa inpatients: an evidence-based protocol.

Hofer, Michael; Pozzi, Antonio; Joray, Maya Lucia; Ott, Rebecca; Hähni, Florence; Leuenberger, Michèle Simone; von Känel, Roland; Stanga, Zeno (2014). Safe refeeding management of anorexia nervosa inpatients: an evidence-based protocol. Nutrition, 30(5), pp. 524-530. Elsevier 10.1016/j.nut.2013.09.019

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Anorexia nervosa is associated with several serious medical complications related to malnutrition, severe weight loss, and low levels of micronutrients. The refeeding phase of these high-risk patients bears a further threat to health and potentially fatal complications. The objective of this study was to examine complications due to refeeding of patients with anorexia nervosa, as well as their mortality rate after the implementation of guidelines from the European Society of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism.


We analyzed retrospective, observational data of a consecutive, unselected anorexia nervosa cohort during a 5-y period. The sample consisted of 65 inpatients, 14 were admitted more than once within the study period, resulting in 86 analyzed cases.


Minor complications associated with refeeding during the first 10 d (replenishing phase) were recorded in nine cases (10.5%), four with transient pretibial edemas and three with organ dysfunction. In two cases, a severe hypokalemia occurred. During the observational phase of 30 d, 16 minor complications occurred in 14 cases (16.3%). Six infectious and 10 non-infectious complications occurred. None of the patients with anorexia nervosa died within a follow-up period of 3 mo.


Our data demonstrate that the seriousness and rate of complications during the replenishment phase in this high-risk population can be kept to a minimum. The findings indicate that evidence-based refeeding regimens, such as our guidelines are able to reduce complications and prevent mortality. Despite anorexia nervosa, our sample were affected by serious comorbidities, no case met the full diagnostic criteria for refeeding syndrome.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Clinical Nutrition
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of General Internal Medicine (DAIM) > Clinic of General Internal Medicine > Centre of Competence for General Internal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gastro-intestinal, Liver and Lung Disorders (DMLL) > Clinic of Visceral Surgery and Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology > Centre of Competence for Psychosomatic Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Joray, Maya Lucia; Ott, Rebecca; Leuenberger, Michèle Simone; von Känel, Roland and Stanga-Nodari, Zeno


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Patricia Rajaonina

Date Deposited:

26 Mar 2015 11:33

Last Modified:

06 Oct 2020 08:15

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Anorexia nervosa, Complications, Mortality, Refeeding, Refeeding syndrome




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