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Neurogastroenterology tests factor in avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder

23 Nov 2019

Patients undergoing neurogastroenterology examinations commonly present with symptoms of avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) driven mostly by fear of gastrointestinal symptoms, as shown in a recent study.

Researchers retrospectively examined the medical records of 410 consecutive individuals referred (aged 18–90 years; 73.0 percent female) to a tertiary care centre for neurogastroenterology examination.

Twenty-six individuals (6.3 percent) met the full criteria for ARFID, while 71 (17.3 percent) had clinically significant avoidant or restrictive eating behaviours but insufficient information for a definitive ARFID diagnosis.

Most of the patients with ARFID symptoms (90/97; 92.8 percent) endorsed fear of gastrointestinal symptoms as motivation for their avoidant or restrictive eating.

Binary logistic regressions showed that likelihood of having ARFID symptoms was significantly high in patients with eating- or weight-related complaints (odds ratio [OR], 5.09, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 2.54–10.21); those presenting with dyspepsia, nausea or vomiting (OR, 3.59, 95 percent CI, 2.04–6.32); those with abdominal pain (OR, 4.72, 95 percent CI, 1.87–11.81); and those with more than one diagnosis of a gastrointestinal disorder (OR, 1.63, 95 percent CI, 1.26–2.10).

“ARFID is a feeding and eating disorder that is characterized by avoidant or restrictive eating not primarily motivated by body shape or weight concerns,” according to the researchers. The present data highlight the importance of evaluating patients undergoing neurogastroenterology or motility examinations for symptoms of ARFID.

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