A meta-analysis of heart rate and QT interval alteration in anorexia nervosa

World J Biol Psychiatry. 2008;9(2):86-91. doi: 10.1080/15622970701230963.


Objective: Reports have suggested association between sudden death and QT prolongation in AN patients. Incidence and clinical consequences of cardiac abnormalities remain controversial. As the course of AN disease is long-lasting it remains unclear how often psychiatrists should send AN patients for somatic and especially cardiological investigation. The objective of the study was to aggregate the published data on HR and QT alteration and to perform a meta-analysis of the HR and QT alteration in patients with anorexia nervosa.

Methods: A Medline search of all English language studies from 1994 to 2005 was performed. The inclusion criteria were confirmed diagnosis of AN, measurement of QTc and mean heart rate. Data from 10 studies were analyzed using weighted linear regression model.

Results: Analysis showed that bradycardia and relationship between HR and BMI decreases as the disease continues. QTc interval in AN patients was within normal range although significantly longer than in controls.

Conclusion: Further investigations of sudden death in patients with AN due to cardiac arrest are needed and a model of clinical monitoring of cardiovascular system should be elaborated. If QTc prolongation is detected even in the normal range further cardiological examination for risk assessment and systematic clinical surveillance of the cardiovascular system should be considered.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Anorexia Nervosa / complications*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / epidemiology
  • Anorexia Nervosa / physiopathology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Long QT Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Long QT Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Long QT Syndrome / etiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index