Background: Pediatric eating disorders (PED) patients are prone to nutritional deficiencies. Thiamine deficiency is well described in other malnutrition states but is not routinely screened for in PED. In the current study we evaluated the prevalence of thiamine deficiency among PED patients on their first admission to an outpatient day hospital for eating disorders (DH). Methods: In this prospective cohort study, we measured whole blood thiamine pyrophosphate concentrations (TPP) in addition to a routine laboratory workup in 69 girls on their first admission to DH. Two subgroup analyses were performed: (I) Patients with a previous dietary intervention (“diet” group, n
= 30) or naïve-to-treatment patients (“naïve” group, n
= 39) and (II) Type of PED: Restrictive (group R, n
= 44) or binge-eating/purging (group BP, n
= 25). Results: Thiamine deficiency was identified in four girls (6%), all in the “naïve” group. Three of them had BP, and one had R. Patients in the “diet” group had a significantly higher TPP compared to the “naïve” group (55.5 µg/L vs. 46.7 µg/L, p
= 0.004). TPP levels returned to normal after two weeks of the treatment program in all deficient patients. Conclusion: Thiamine deficiency was uncommon among PED patients and was easily replenished. Screening for deficiency should be performed among treatment-naïve patients. Keynotes: Whole blood thiamine pyrophosphate concentrations (TPP) are seldom screened for among PED patients. In the current study, we detected thiamine deficiency in only 6% of patients on their first admission to an outpatient day hospital for eating disorders. All deficient patients did not have a recent dietary intervention. We recommend considering screening for thiamine deficiency in treatment-naïve PED patients.
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