Mortality of eating disorders: a follow-up study of treatment in a specialist unit 1974-2000

Int J Eat Disord. 2011 May;44(4):304-10. doi: 10.1002/eat.20827.


Objective: To study excess mortality, causes of death, and co-morbidity in patients with eating disorder (ED), treated in a Swedish specialist facility.

Method: A retrospective cohort study of 201 patients with ED followed from 1974 to year 2001 in the Swedish Causes of Death Register (SCODR). Standardized mortality ratio (SMR) was calculated with respect to the Swedish population, by gender, age, and calendar time.

Results: In the complete follow-up of 201 patients, 23 had died. At a mean follow-up of 14.3 years the overall SMR was 10. Patients with body mass index (BMI) over 11.5 had an average SMR of about 7 and for those with BMI lower than 11.5 had SMR above 30. Six patients died from AN/starvation, nine due to suicide, and eight from other causes.

Discussion: SMR in anorexia nervosa (AN) is high but not in bulimia nervosa. A risk stratification of AN, based on BMI is suggested.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cause of Death
  • Comorbidity
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / mortality*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Substance-Related Disorders / mortality*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy
  • Suicide / psychology
  • Sweden / epidemiology