Int J Eat Disord. 2005 Sep;38(2):143-6.

The mortality rate from anorexia nervosa.

Birmingham CL, Su J, Hlynsky JA, Goldner EM, Gao M.

Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


We determined the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) in our anorexia nervosa (AN) patient population. METHOD: We used a cross-sectional design to study an inception cohort (1981-2000) drawn from the provincial tertiary care eating disorders program at St. Paul's Hospital (British Columbia, Canada). All patients who completed their initial assessment for an eating disorder were included in the study. Vital status, date and cause of death from British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency, date of assessment, date of birth, and diagnosis at the time of assessment were collected for each patient.


Of 954 patients, 326 diagnosed with AN completed an assessment over the 20 years. The SMR was 10.5 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 5.5-15.5) for AN. DISCUSSION: Some studies in the literature report that AN has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder in young females. However, others dispute this fact and report an SMR lower than the normal population mortality (SMR = 0.71). Contrary to some reports in the literature, our study confirms a high mortality rate within the AN population.

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