An Echocardiographic Study of Left Ventricular Size and Cardiac Function in Adolescent Females with Anorexia Nervosa

  • LV Size and Cardiac Function in AN
  • Carolina A. Escudero, James E. Potts, Pei-Yoong Lam, Astrid M. De Souza, Gerald J. Mugford, George G. S. Sandor
  • European Eating Disorders Review, October 2015, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1002/erv.2409

Left Ventricular Size and Function in Adolescent Females with Anorexia Nervosa

What is it about?

This study investigates the size of the left ventricle and its function in teenage girls with anorexia nervosa using echocardiography, and compares these values to those of otherwise healthy teenage girls. Overall, girls with anorexia nervosa had smaller and thinner left ventricles than the healthy teenage girls. There were no differences in measurements of left ventricular systolic function, or the heart's ability to contract appropriately. The patients with anorexia nervosa showed decreases in measurements of diastolic function, or the heart's ability to relax appropriately. When the patients with anorexia nervosa were divided into groups based on their BMI (body mass index) percentile, the group of patients with the lowest BMI (less than or equal to the 10th percentile) showed the greatest differences , while the group of patients with anorexia nervosa and a higher BMI (greater than the 10th percentile) were not different.

Why is it important?

Our study shows that anorexia nervosa can lead to changes in the size and thickness of the heart, specifically the left ventricle. Although the ability of the heart to pump blood effectively does not appear to be affected, the ability for the heart muscle to relax and fill with blood may be affected. What these findings mean for patients in the long term is, however, unclear at present. The patients with the most severe malnutrition (as measured by BMI percentile) are the most affected.

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The following have contributed to this page: George Sandor and Carolina Escudero