Venous thromboembolism in anorexia nervosa: four cases from a specialized unit. Indication for thromboprophylaxis?
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BACKGROUND: Venous thromboembolism (VTE), which includes deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), is a major cause of mortality and morbidity. VTE may occur asymptomatic or subclinical. Fluid retention during intensive re-nutrition or rapid weight changes are well-known phenomena in anorexia nervosa (AN) and may represent a significant risk factor for VTE. OBJECTIVE: The incidence of VTE in patients with AN is unknown, and the conditions may be overlooked in a complex clinical picture. METHOD: This study report four cases of VTE in women with severe AN (age range 19-41 years, BMI range 10.6-13.1) admitted to a specialized unit for medical stabilization. RESULTS: DVT or PE was diagnosed in all four patients. The patients were admitted for intensive re-nutrition according to conventional conservative guidelines with slow increase in energy supply (start low and advance slow). Due to suspected VTE, thromboprophylaxis was given during hospitalization, three of whom were undergoing re-nutrition. CONCLUSION: The four presented cases suggest that VTE during re-nutrition in AN may be an overlooked risk which may not be sufficiently addressed in the literature. General recommendations should not be issued on the basis of case reports; however, we want to raise awareness and call for studies to identify the VTE risk and appropriate thromboprophylaxis in AN patients.
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