The prevention of serious physical complications in anorexia nervosa (AN) patients is important. The purpose of this study is to clarify which physical and social factors are related to the necessity for urgent hospitalization of anorexia nervosa (AN) patients in a long-term starvation state. We hypothesized that the change of longitudinal BMI, body composition and social background would be useful as an index of the necessity for urgent hospitalization.
AN patients were classified into; urgent hospitalization, due to disturbance of consciousness or difficulty walking(n = 17); planned admission (n = 96); and outpatient treatment only groups (n = 136). The longitudinal BMI pattern and the clinical features of these groups were examined. In the hospitalization groups, comparison was done of body composition variation and the social background, including the educational level and advice from family members.
After adjusting for age and duration of illness, the BMI of the urgent hospitalization group was lower than that of the other groups at one year before hospitalization (P < 0.01) and decreased more rapidly (P < 0.01). Urgent hospitalization was associated with the fat free mass (FFM) (P < 0.01). Between the groups, no considerable difference in social factors was found.
The longitudinal pattern of BMI and FFM may be useful for understanding the severity in AN from the viewpoint of failure of the homeostasis system.