Changes in bioimpedance analysis after stable refeeding of undernourished anorexic patients

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1999 Feb;23(2):133-7. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0800780.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / physiopathology*
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Electric Impedance*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Skinfold Thickness