Dysphagia in severe anorexia nervosa: A case report




The purpose of this case report is to increase awareness among clinicians that oropharyngeal dysphagia occurs in patients with severe anorexia nervosa, placing them at risk for aspiration and impeding nutritional rehabilitation.


We describe a patient with severe anorexia nervosa who manifested symptoms of dysphagia, with resultant aspiration pneumonia, at the time of her admission for medical stabilization.


The speech pathology team administered dysphagia therapy, using neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) in conjunction with swallowing therapy. Following the course of dysphagia treatment intervention, the patient was able to tolerate an oral diet with improved swallowing function and no ongoing aspiration.


Patients with severe anorexia nervosa should be screened for possible dysphagia. NMES in the treatment of dysphagia in patients with anorexia nervosa may reduce the need for enteral feeds and prolonged hospitalization. © 2012 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2012.