Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder: which patients are most at risk?

  • Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol
  • 24 Oct 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) symptoms are more likely in patients with eating complaints, weight complaints, and abdominal pain.

Why this matters

  • Clinicians should evaluate patients for ARFID symptoms during neurogastroenterology examinations, using screening questionnaires with follow-up questions to assess the need for behavioral health referrals.

Study design

  • Researchers reviewed the health records of patients referred for neurogastroenterology examinations (N=410; age range, 18-90 years; women, 73%) to determine the prevalence of ARFID symptoms and explore associations with specific symptoms and diagnoses.
  • Funding: Lawrence J. and Anne Rubenstein Charitable Foundation; American Gastroenterological Association.

Key results

  • Overall ARFID symptom prevalence was 23.7%, with 6.3% (n=26) of the patients meeting the full DSM-5 criteria and another 17.3% (n=71) showing clinically significant avoidant or restrictive eating behaviors without a definitive diagnosis.
  • ARFID symptoms increased with eating- or weight-related complaints (OR, 5.09; 95% CI, 2.54-10.21); dyspepsia, nausea, or vomiting (OR, 3.59; 95% CI, 2.04-6.32); abdominal pain (OR, 4.72; 95% CI, 1.89-11.81); or >1 diagnosed gastrointestinal (GI) disorder (OR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.26-2.10).

Limitations

  • The study was retrospective, and health records did not identify the primary gastrointestinal diagnosis or symptom duration.