When is inpatient care indicated for the treatment of anorexia nervosa?

Updated: Jun 10, 2019
  • Author: Bettina E Bernstein, DO; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Individuals with anorexia nervosa who are at risk medically or psychiatrically require inpatient treatment. Indications for hospital admission include the following:

  • Low weight (85% or less of expected weight and/or less than the third percentile for BMI) [110]

  • Lack of any weight gain

  • Significant edema

  • Physiologic decompensation including, but not limited to, the following: (1) severe electrolyte imbalance (life-threatening risks created by sodium and potassium derangements), (2) cardiac disturbances or other acute medical disorders, (3) altered mental status or other signs of severe malnutrition, and (4) orthostatic differential greater than 30/min

  • Temperature less than 36°C

  • Pulse below 45 beats per minute

  • Psychosis or a high risk of suicide

  • Symptoms refractory to outpatient treatment

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