OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to describe mortality rates and causes of death for patients with eating disorders. METHOD: By means of record-linkage, the study includes all patients admitted and diagnosed as suffering from an eating disorder according to the ICD-8 classification system during the period 1970-1993 at any Danish psychiatric (since 1970) or somatic department (since 1977). The study includes 2,763 cases, of which 237 are males. Maximum follow-up time is 23 years and mean follow-up time is 10.3 years. RESULTS: Crude mortality at follow-up is 8.4%. A significant excess mortality is demonstrated since the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) of the total patient population is 6.69 (CI 5.68-7.83) and the highest rate ratio (RR) of 14.92 (CI 9.66-22.03) relates to women aged 25-29. DISCUSSION: The study documents a significant excess mortality among eating-disordered patients.