To investigate the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) as nutritional therapy for maintenance of remission in pediatric Crohn's disease (CD).
Retrospective chart review was conducted in 11 pediatric patients with CD who initiated the SCD as therapy at time of diagnosis or flare. Two groups defined as SCD simple (diet alone, antibiotics or 5-ASA) or SCD with immunomodulators (corticosteroids and/or stable thiopurine dosing) were followed for one year and compared on disease characteristics, laboratory values and anthropometrics.
The mean age at start of the SCD was 11.8 ± 3.0 years (range 6.6-17.6 years) with five patients starting the SCD within 5 wk of diagnosis. Three patients maintained a strict SCD diet for the study period and the mean time for liberalization was 7.7 ± 4.0 mo (range 1-12) for the remaining patients. In both groups, hematocrit, albumin and ESR values improved while on strict SCD and appeared stable after liberalization (P-value 0.006, 0.002, 0.002 respectively). The majority of children gained in weight and height percentile while on strict SCD, with small loss in weight percentile documented with liberalization.
Disease control may be attainable with the SCD in pediatric CD. Further studies are needed to assess adherence, impact on mucosal healing and growth.