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Long-term mortality in anorexia nervosa: a report after an 8-year follow-up and a review of the most recent literature



To evaluate long-term mortality rate of anorexia nervosa (AN) patients in a southern Italy population compared to the most recent literature.


Retrospective and review setting.

Patients and interventions:

One hundred and forty-seven female AN patients, consecutively admitted from 1994 to 1997 to the Outpatient Unit, were re-examined between June and November 2003. Our data are compared with 10 other studies published since 1988.


One hundred and twenty-three deaths in 2240 patients, amounting to a total mortality rate of 5.25% were reported in the literature. Deaths due to suicide, AN-related and AN-unrelated diseases were 1.20, 3.07 and 0.98%, respectively. After correcting for unrelated deaths, mortality rate was 4.27%. In our 8-year follow-up, we found a mortality rate of 2.72% (1.82% after correcting for unrelated deaths). Standardized mortality ratio was 9.7.


We interpret our favourable findings as a consequence of an integrated, clinical–nutritional and psychiatric approach. Finally, considering AN demographic characteristics, that is young female subjects in Westernized societies, mortality rate is confirmed to be dramatically high.


‘Federico II’ University of Naples.

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We are grateful to Eufemia Silvestri, dietitian, for her skilful assistance, Fabiana Rubba, MD, for the help in statistical analysis and Mrs Rosanna Scala for kindly reviewing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to F Contaldo.

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Signorini, A., De Filippo, E., Panico, S. et al. Long-term mortality in anorexia nervosa: a report after an 8-year follow-up and a review of the most recent literature. Eur J Clin Nutr 61, 119–122 (2007).

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  • eating disorders
  • anorexia nervosa
  • mortality
  • follow-up
  • clinical nutrition
  • reviews
  • meta-analysis

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