Myocardial Changes in a Patient With Anorexia Nervosa: A Case Report and Review of Literature

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Anorexia nervosa (AN) is an eating disorder with high mortality and morbidity. Much of the mortality is related to cardiovascular complications manifesting with electrocardiogram abnormalities and morphologic abnormalities documented on ultrasound. However, gross and histologic abnormalities in the heart have been rarely described in association with this eating disorder.


We present an autopsy case of an adult patient with AN. We describe the clinical presentation of this patient, as well as significant gross and histologic abnormalities of the heart, and discuss their implications.


At autopsy, the heart was small with mainly a small left ventricle. Histologically, we found endocardial and interstitial fibrosis, areas of myxoid material deposition with mast cells in the background, and increased cytoplasmic lipofuscin.


The gross findings in the heart correlate with the previously described anomalies on cardiac ultrasound of patients with AN. The fibrosis and myxoid material deposition might be a direct consequence of starvation and the mechanism of death in some patients with AN.

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