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Keywords:

  • bulimia nervosa;
  • mortality;
  • eating disorders;
  • predictive factors

Abstract

Background

The risk of mortality remains unclear for bulimia nervosa (BN) patients, especially the most severe. The aims of this study were to improve knowledge on BN and mortality.

Methods

With initial evaluation at admission, 258 BN (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition) consecutive inpatients were included (1988–2004). Vital status was established from the French national register. Standardized Mortality Ratio (SMR) calculation and bivariate Cox analysis were performed for the hypothesised predictors of mortality.

Results

Mean follow-up duration was 10.5 years. Ten deaths were recorded, and the crude mortality ratio was 3.9%; SMR = 5.52 [CI95 (2.64–10.15)]. The majority of deaths were from suicide [6/10, SMR = 30.9 (5.7–68.7)]. The mean age at time of death was 29.6 years. Predictive factors were previous suicide attempt and low minimum BMI.

Conclusions

Severe BN patients are at higher risk of death (mainly suicide) especially if previous suicide attempt or previous low BMI. More studies are needed to confirm these results. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.