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Medical management of acute severe anorexia nervosa
  1. Amy Norrington1,
  2. Ruth Stanley2,
  3. Michael Tremlett3,
  4. Ginny Birrell2
  1. 1Anaesthetics and Critical Care, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, UK
  2. 2Paediatrics Department, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, UK
  3. 3Paediatric Anaesthesia and Critical Care, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ginny Birrell, Department of Paediatric Medicine, James Cook University Hospital, Marton Road, Middlesbrough TS4 3BW, UK; ginny.birrell{at}


Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a common condition affecting young people. The medical management of AN on a general paediatric ward is challenging. It is important to identify young people who are at risk of medical complications, so early intervention can be instigated. This article aims to review the clinical practice and evidence supporting the current medical management of young people with AN. It provides a system-based approach to potential complications of the disease, guidance on feeding and the management of re-feeding syndrome. Approaches to legal and ethical challenges are also considered. While the importance of psychiatric treatment is recognised, the same is not discussed within this article.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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