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Suicide attempts requiring hospitalization in patients with eating disorders: A retrospective cohort study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Charlotte Cliffe, Hitesh Shetty, Hubertus Himmerich, Ulrike Schmidt, Robert Stewart, Rina Dutta

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Early online date11 Feb 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Feb 2020

King's Authors

Abstract

Objective

Suicide attempts requiring hospitalization are known to be common in patients who are diagnosed with eating disorders. Attempting suicide is a major indicator for those at risk of completed suicide. Both the specific eating disorder diagnosis and the influence of psychiatric comorbidities on suicide attempts requiring hospitalization were investigated, with demographic and socioeconomic variables as confounders, over a 10‐year observation period from January 2007 to March 2017.

Methods

Anonymized health‐record data from the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) were retrieved through the Clinical Record Interactive Search (CRIS) data resource; this is linked to national Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data. These data include all diagnoses for inpatient admissions. Hazard ratios, with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), were calculated from cox regression analyses and the effects of a number of confounders were estimated by performing multivariable analyses.

Results

In total, 4,895 patients were diagnosed with anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), or eating disorder otherwise not specified (EDNOS). Of these, 331 (6.7%) had attempted suicide requiring hospitalization and 21 (0.04%) completed suicide. The eating disorder category associated with the highest risk of a suicide attempt was AN (HR: 1.43, 95%CI: 1.08–1.89, p = .01). The risk was significantly increased further if the patient had a comorbid diagnosis of personality disorder, depression, bipolar affective disorder, and substance misuse.

Discussion

Suicide attempts requiring hospitalization have a high incidence rate among patients with eating disorders, and the risk is significantly increased in AN. Comorbid psychiatric illness and suicidal ideation should be carefully assessed in all eating disorder patients.

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