Assessment of myocardial damage by cardiac MRI in patients with anorexia nervosa

Int J Eat Disord. 2013 Dec;46(8):862-6. doi: 10.1002/eat.22170. Epub 2013 Aug 7.


Objective: Cardiac damage is a major complication of anorexia nervosa (AN). The present study evaluated the prevalence of myocardial damage in patients with AN by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR).

Method: This study was cross-sectional and observational. Forty consecutive female patients with a diagnosis of AN and 28 healthy female subjects were evaluated from January 2007 to 2011 at the Department of Psychiatry (University of Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey). Following enrollment in the study, participants underwent a cardiac evaluation, a physical examination, a standard electrocardiogram (ECG), an echocardiography and a CMR.

Results: Body weight, body mass index and heart rate values were lower in patients with AN than in the control group. When compared with control groups, patients with AN showed reduced left ventricular mass with normal systolic function. Compared to control subjects, patients with AN had higher prevalence of pericardial effusion (30% in the AN group, 4% in the control group, p = .005) and mitral valve prolapses (23% in the AN group, 4% in the control group, p = .03). Myocardial fibrosis (detected as late gadolinium enhancement on CMR) was found in 23% of patients with AN. Myocardial fibrosis was not detected in any control subject (p = .007).

Conclusion: A strong association was found between myocardial fibrosis and AN. Cardiac damage of myocardial fibrosis in asymptomatic patients with AN can be found by CMR examination.

Keywords: anorexia nervosa; cardiac magnetic resonance imaging; echocardiography; late gadolinium enhancement; myocardial damage; sudden death.

MeSH terms

  • Anorexia Nervosa / complications*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / pathology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Fibrosis
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Physical Examination
  • Systole / physiology
  • Turkey
  • Ventricular Function, Left / physiology
  • Young Adult