The effect of COVID-19 pandemic on hospitalizations and disease characteristics of adolescents with anorexia nervosa

Lotem Goldberg, Adi Ziv, Yoav Vardi, Shai Hadas, Tarek Zuabi, Lital Yeshareem, Tomer Gur, Shelly Steinling, Oded Scheuerman, Yoel Levinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Social distancing and quarantines have major negative psychological implications. Our aim was to study the rate of pediatric hospitalizations due to anorexia nervosa (AN) during the first year of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic as compared to previous years, with regard to clinical and laboratory parameters. This is a retrospective study in a tertiary pediatric hospital in Israel. Data regarding inpatient hospitalizations due to AN were retrieved, then epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory parameters compared. During the entire study period, 275 hospitalizations were due to AN: 94 patients were admitted during the 12 months of the pandemic as compared to a yearly mean of 45.25 during 2015–2019, resulting in a 2.4-fold increase (p < 0.001). The mean admission age and female predominance were similar in the two study groups. The weight of the patients at admission was higher during the COVID-19 period (44.5 kg vs. 41.2 kg, p = 0.004), and fewer patients had clinical signs typical of AN upon physical examination (p = 0.022). There was a 35% reduction in median hospitalization duration (9 days [IQR 8.21] in 2020–2021 and 14 [IQR 6, 16.75] days in 2015–2019, p = 0.01). No other differences were found. Conclusions: During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a significant increase in the number of adolescents hospitalized with AN. Nevertheless, disease characteristics were not more severe as compared to the preceding 5 years.What is Known:• Social distancing and quarantines were announced during the COVID-19 pandemic in numerous countries. These measures have potential negative psychological effects on adolescents.What is New:• During the COVID-19 pandemic period, there was an increase in the number of hospitalizations of adolescents with AN, although disease characteristics were not more severe as compared to the preceding 5 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1767-1771
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Volume181
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Keywords

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • COVID-19
  • Eating disorder
  • Pandemic

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