Objective: Changes of the peripheral blood cell count in patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) are frequent. Anemia and leukopenia are observed in one-third of these patients. Examination of the bone marrow reveals in almost 50% of the patients with AN signs of bone marrow atrophy and can additionally suffer from a gelatinous bone marrow transformation.
Method: Published studies and investigations concerning hematological changes in patients with AN were reviewed.
Results: Anemia and mild neutropenia are detectable in almost one-third of these patients, whereas thrombocytopenia is rather uncommon. The exact mechanism for these findings is still unclear, but 50% of AN-patients with hematological changes display morphological signs of partial bone marrow atrophy.
Discussion: Changes of the peripheral blood cell count in patients with AN is a frequent observation but the peripheral blood cell count cannot predict the severity of bone marrow atrophy. All hematological and morphological alterations disappear completely and rapidly after sufficient refeeding.