Jason M. Nagata, Ruben Vargas, Austin E. Sanders, Elena Stuart, Amanda E. Downey, Anita V. Chaphekar, Anthony Nguyen, Kyle T. Ganson, Sara M. Buckelew, Andrea K. Garber

Clinical characteristics of hospitalized male adolescents and young adults with atypical anorexia nervosa

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

AbstractObjectiveTo describe the clinical characteristics of male adolescents and young adults hospitalized for medical complications of atypical anorexia nervosa (atypical AN) and to compare their clinical characteristics with females with atypical AN and males with anorexia nervosa (AN).MethodA retrospective review of electronic medical records for patients with atypical AN and AN aged 9–25 admitted to the UCSF Eating Disorders Program from May 2012 to August 2020 was conducted.ResultsAmong 21 males with atypical AN (mean age 15.1 ± 2.7, mean %mBMI 102.0 ± 11.8), medical complications evidenced by admission laboratory values included anemia (52.9%), vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency (52.6%), and zinc deficiency (31.6%). Compared with females with atypical AN (n = 69), males with atypical AN had longer length of stay (11.4 vs 8.4 days, p = .004), higher prescribed kcal at discharge (4114 vs 3045 kcal, p < .001), lower heart rate nadir (40.0 vs 45.8, p = .038), higher aspartate transaminase (AST, 37.9 vs 26.2 U/L, p = .032), higher alanine transaminase (ALT, 30.6 vs 18.3 U/L, p = .005), and higher rates of anemia (52.9% vs 19.4%, p = .005), with no differences in vitamin D, zinc, and vital signs. Compared with males with AN (n = 40), males with atypical AN had no significant differences in vital signs or laboratory assessments during the hospitalization.DiscussionAtypical AN in males leads to significant medical comorbidity, and males with atypical AN require longer hospital stays compared to females with atypical AN. Rates of abnormal vital signs and abnormal serum laboratory values during hospital admissions do not differ in males with atypical AN compared to AN.Public SignificanceAdolescent and young adult males with atypical anorexia nervosa experience significant medical complications. Males with atypical anorexia nervosa had longer hospitalizations and higher prescribed nutrition at discharge than females. Medical complications of atypical anorexia nervosa in male adolescents and young adults were generally equal to those of male adolescents and young adults with anorexia nervosa. Clinicians should be aware of unique medical complications of males with atypical anorexia nervosa.

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