Long-term survival of patients with anorexia nervosa: a population-based study in Rochester, Minn

Mayo Clin Proc. 2003 Mar;78(3):278-84. doi: 10.4065/78.3.278.


Objective: To estimate long-term survival of unselected patients with anorexia nervosa from Rochester, Minn.

Patients and methods: In this population-based retrospective cohort study, all 208 Rochester residents who presented with anorexia nervosa (193 women and 15 men) for the first time from 1935 through 1989 were monitored for up to 63 years. Subsequent survival was compared with that expected for Minnesota white residents of similar age and sex, and standardized mortality ratios were determined on the basis of age- and sex-specific death rates for the US population in 1987.

Results: Survival was not worse than expected in this cohort (P = .16). The estimated survival 30 years after the initial diagnosis of anorexia nervosa was 93% (95% confidence interval, 88%-97%) compared with an expected 94%. During 5646 person-years of follow-up (median, 22 years per patient), 17 deaths occurred (14 women and 3 men) compared with an expected 23.7 deaths (standardized mortality ratio, 0.71; 95% confidence interval, 0.42-1.09). One woman died of complications of anorexia nervosa, 2 women committed suicide, and 6 patients (5 women and 1 man) died of complications of alcoholism. Other causes of death were not increased.

Conclusions: Long-term survival of Rochester patients with anorexia nervosa did not differ from that expected. This finding suggests that overall mortality was not increased among the spectrum of cases representative of the community.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / mortality*
  • Cause of Death
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Databases, Factual
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota / epidemiology
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Survival Rate