Objective: To evaluate bioimpedance analysis (BIA) parameters in patients with anorexia nervosa when undernourished and then after stable refeeding.
Design: Follow-up study.
Subjects: Thirteen patients with anorexia nervosa who were studied when undernourished (body weight (Wt): 36.9+/-5.6kg, body mass index (BMI): 14.8+/-1.8kg/m2) and after stable refeeding (Wt: 52.9+/-7.1kg, BMI: 21.2+/-2.3 kg/m2) compared to 25 well-nourished control women (Wt: 53.7+/-4.9 kg, BMI: 21.1+/-1.3 kg/m2).
Measurements: Impedance and phase angle were determined for the whole body (13 patients) and separately for arms and legs (10 patients).
Results: Bioimpedance index (height2/impedance) and phase angle were lower in the undernourished group. Whole-body impedance declined (median, min-max) by 45, 1-151 Ohm after refeeding; the variations of bioimpedance index (BI-Index) were weakly correlated (P < 0.10) with BMI changes. Limb phase angles increased with refeeding, but only changes in whole-body phase angle were correlated (P < 0.025) with the corresponding variations of Wt or BMI.
Conclusion: Whole-body phase angle increased after weight recovery of anorexic patients, suggesting the occurence of modifications in the extracellular-to-intracellular water ratio. These changes were proportional to the increase in BMI and Wt.