Acute liver damage in anorexia nervosa

Int J Eat Disord. 2004 Jul;36(1):114-7. doi: 10.1002/eat.20002.


We report a case of a 26-year-old White woman with a history of anorexia nervosa who developed severe liver damage and multiorgan dysfunction. At admission to our medical unit, her body mass index (BMI) was 10.8. Biochemical evaluation showed a marked increase in serum levels of aspartate aminotransferases (AST = 9,980 IU/L), alanine aminotransferase (ALT = 3,930 IU/L), amylase (1,002 IU/L), lipase (1,437 IU/L), creatine phosphokinase (CPK; 783 IU/L), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH = 6,830 IU/L). Glomerular filtration rate was reduced (35 ml/min), reflecting dehydration and prerenal azotemia. No other cause of acute liver damage except malnutrition was evidenced. Hydration and nutritional support were the unique medical treatment. A rapid recovery occurred in few days and all laboratory data were normal at discharge after a 37-day hospitalization.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Alanine Transaminase / metabolism
  • Amylases / metabolism
  • Anorexia Nervosa / complications*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Creatine Kinase / metabolism
  • Dehydration / etiology
  • Dehydration / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipase / metabolism
  • Liver Diseases / enzymology
  • Liver Diseases / etiology*
  • Liver Diseases / therapy
  • Recovery of Function


  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Creatine Kinase
  • Lipase
  • Amylases