Volume 3 Supplement 1

Proceedings of the 2015 Australia and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders (ANZAED) Conference: Riding the Waves to Recovery

Open Access

A randomised controlled trial of in-patient treatment for anorexia nervosa in medically unstable adolescents

  • Sloane Madden1, 2Email author,
  • Jane Miskovic-Wheatley1, 2,
  • Andrew Wallis1,
  • Michael Kohn1, 2,
  • James Lock3,
  • Daniel LeGrange4,
  • Booil Jo3,
  • Simon Clarke5,
  • Paul Rhodes2,
  • Phillipa Hay6 and
  • Stephen Touyz2
Journal of Eating Disorders20153(Suppl 1):O44


Published: 23 November 2015


Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is a serious disorder, with high costs due to hospitalisation. International treatments vary with prolonged hospitalisations in Europe and shorter hospitalisations in the USA. Uncontrolled studies suggest longer initial hospitalisations that normalise weight produce better outcomes and less admissions than shorter hospitalisations with lower discharge weights.


A randomised controlled trial of 82 adolescents, with DSM-IV AN and medical instability comparing brief hospitalisation for medical stabilisation (MS) and hospitalisation for weight restoration (WR) to 90% expected body weight (EBW) (1:1), both followed by 20 sessions of manualised, family based treatment (FBT).


Primary outcome was hospital days, following initial admission, at 12-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes were total hospital days to 12-months and full remission (EBW>95% and global Eating Disorder Examination score within 1 SD of published means). There was no significant difference between groups in hospital days used following initial admission. There were significantly more total hospital days used and post-protocol FBT sessions in the WR group. There were no moderators of primary outcome, but participants with higher eating psychopathology and compulsive features reported better outcomes in the MS group.


Outcomes are similar with hospitalisations for MS or WR when combined with FBT. Cost savings would result from combining shorter hospitalisation with FBT.

Authors’ Affiliations

The Sydney Children's Hospital Network
The University of Sydney
Stanford University
Univeristy of Chicago
Westmead Hospital
University of Western Sydney


© Madden et al. 2015

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