Acute gastric dilatation in a patient with anorexia nervosa binge/purge subtype

Ailis Tweed-Kent, Peter J. Fagenholz, Hasan B. Alam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Acute gastric dilatation is a rare complication of anorexia nervosa binge/purge subtype that results from gastrointestinal abnormalities, including decreased gastric motility and delayed gastric emptying. Early diagnosis and intervention is critical since delay may result in gastric necrosis, perforation, shock, and death. We report a 26-year-old female with anorexia nervosa binge/purge subtype, who presented with abdominal pain and nausea after a binge episode. Abdominal radiography and computed tomography showed a grossly dilated stomach measuring 32 cm × 17.9 cm consistent with acute gastric dilatation. She underwent exploratory laparotomy with gastrotomy and gastric decompression, and recovered uneventfully. Initially, the patient denied the binge episode, as many patients with eating disorders do, but later revealed an extensive history of anorexia nervosa binge/purge subtype. This case stresses the importance of obtaining a thorough history of eating disorders and maintaining a high index of suspicion for acute gastric dilatation in young women who present with abdominal pain and distention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-405
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Emergencies, Trauma and Shock
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute gastric dilatation
  • anorexia
  • binge/purge
  • denial
  • eating disorder
  • gastric dysmotility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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