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Clinical and Mucosal Improvement With Specific Carbohydrate Diet in Pediatric Crohn Disease

Cohen, Stanley A.*; Gold, Benjamin D.*; Oliva, Salvatore; Lewis, Jeffery*; Stallworth, Angela*; Koch, Bailey*; Eshee, Laura; Mason, David§

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: October 2014 - Volume 59 - Issue 4 - p 516–521
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000000449
Original Articles: Gastroenterology

Objective: The aim of the study was to prospectively evaluate clinical and mucosal responses to the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) in children with Crohn disease (CD).

Methods: Eligible patients with active CD (Pediatric Crohn's Disease Activity Index [PCDAI] ≥ 15) underwent a patency capsule and, if passed intact, capsule endoscopy (CE) was performed. Patients taking SCD were monitored for 52 weeks while maintaining all prescribed medications. Demographic, dietary, and clinical information, PCDAI, Harvey-Bradshaw Index (HBI), and Lewis score (LS) were collected at 0, 12, and 52 weeks. CEs were evaluated by an experienced reader blinded to patient clinical information and timing.

Results: Sixteen patients were screened; 10 enrolled; and 9 completed the initial 12-week trial—receiving 85% of estimated caloric needs before, and 101% on the SCD. HB significantly decreased from 3.3 ± 2.0 to 0.6 ± 1.3 (P = 0.007) as did PCDAI (21.1 ± 5.9 to 7.8 ± 7.1, P = 0.011). LS declined significantly from 2153 ± 732 to 960 ± 433 (P = 0.012). Seven patients continued the SCD up to 52 weeks; HB (0.1 ± 0.4) and PCDAI (5.4 ± 5.5) remained improved (P = 0.016 and 0.027 compared to baseline), with mean LS at 1046 ± 372 and 2 patients showed sustained mucosal healing.

Conclusions: Clinical and mucosal improvements were seen in children with CD, who used SCD for 12 and 52 weeks. In addition, CE can monitor mucosal improvement in treatment trials for pediatric CD. Further studies are critically needed to understand the mechanisms underlying SCD's effectiveness in children with CD.

*Children's Center for Digestive Health Care

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA

Department of Pediatrics, Pediatric Gastroenterology Unit, “La Sapienza” University of Rome, Rome, Italy

§Given Imaging, Yoqneam, Israel.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Stanley A. Cohen, MD, Children's Center for Digestive Healthcare, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA 30342 (e-mail:

Received 14 January, 2014

Accepted 22 May, 2014

D.M. was employed by Given Imaging. S.A.C. and B.D.G. also served as consultants for Given Imaging, Prometheus/Nestle, Janssen, and AstraZeneca. Given Imaging provided funding and the patency and video capsules for the study. The other authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2014 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology,