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Refeeding Syndrome

Dr. Mehler Consulting with a PatientA key element in the treatment of anorexia nervosa is weight gain through nutritional rehabilitation and a diet of increasing calories.

During nutritional rehabilitation, also known as refeeding, serious and potentially fatal complications may occur from a shift in fluids and electrolytes within the body. Symptoms of the refeeding syndrome include weakness, inability to breathe, seizures, metal confusion, cardiac arrest (heart attack), heart failure, coma and even death.

Risk Factors for Developing the Refeeding Syndrome

Not all at-risk patients will develop full refeeding syndrome. However, ACUTE recently published a research study demonstrating potential markers for identifying which patients are at a higher risk for refeeding syndrome. The study found no single marker to identify which of the at-risk patients would develop complications of refeeding syndrome.

Therefore, it is critical that every at-risk patient is medically monitored during the initial refeeding period by experienced medical providers who know how to identify and treat the serious complications associated with early refeeding.

NICE Refeeding Syndrome Chart


Preventing & Managing the Complications of Refeeding

Philip S. Mehler, MD, FACP, FAED, CEDS and the team at the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders specialize in preventing and managing the complications of refeeding syndrome.

Our team's extensive research and unmatched experience in treating the most medically compromised eating disorder patients allows us to avoid the potentially fatal complications that can occur during this crucial phase of recovery.