Objectives Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that combines malnutrition, amenorrhea, and distorted body image. To learn more about the course of this disease we undertook a retrospective study of girls diagnosed with anorexia nervosa in the Saint Etienne Endocrinology Department between 1979 and 2004.
Methods Patients were diagnosed according to DSMIV criteria. Data collected to complete the Morgan-Russell outcome assessment schedule included chronology of illness, patients’ morphological features, anorexia type, treatment choice, patient’s gynecological history, and social status.
Results The study included 206 cases. The average follow-up period was 8.3 ± 5.3 years. Defining recovery as stable BMI > 17.5 kg/m2 for at least one year and recovery of normal menstruation, full recovery was observed in 55.8% and partial recovery in 25.7%, while 18.5% remained chronically ill. Early onset (i.e., during adolescence) was associated with good prognosis, and advanced emaciation and delayed or insufficient medical care with poor prognosis.
Conclusions The seriousness of this disease is due more to the incidence of cases that become chronic than to the mortality rate. Prediction of severity would be improved by taking into account underlying personality traits, such as addictive tendencies and depression.
© 2005 Elsevier Masson SAS. Tous droits réservés.