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Hospital management of young adults admitted with anorexia nervosa

Western Sydney Local Health District

  • Translational Research Grants Scheme
Date Funded:
  • 31 August, 2016
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Elizabeth Parker

Anorexia nervosa results in severe starvation with widespread organ dysfunction. Patients admitted to hospital with anorexia nervosa require restoring of essential nutrition to reverse malnutrition and its complications. However, conservative guidelines advocate reintroducing nutrition at a very slow rate to avoid complications. This slow feeding results in poor weight gain, which can increase the hospital length of stay.

There is a growing body of evidence that now supports feeding hospitalised adolescent patients with anorexia nervosa safely with higher caloric intakes, resulting in faster rates of weight restoration and a reduced length of hospital stay, without adverse side effects. However evidence in higher caloric feeding is not as robust in the adult anorexia nervosa population. Of particular concern is the reintroduction of carbohydrate in a starved anorexia nervosa patient, which can lead to potential electrolyte derangement and increase the risk of developing complications.

The aim of this study is to test if a higher caloric introduction of nutrition using a higher fat content versus carbohydrate content will provide better health outcomes to adult patients with anorexia nervosa.

Collaborators: Sydney Local Health District, Agency for Clinical Innovation, Centre for Eating and Dieting Disorders, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Westmead Hospital