Lack of Mucosal Healing From Modified Specific Carbohydrate Diet in Pediatric Patients With Crohn Disease

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Abstract

Exclusive enteral nutrition is effective in pediatric Crohn disease but challenging as maintenance therapy. There is interest in food-based therapies such as the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) but paucity of data on efficacy and effect on mucosal healing, an evolving target of IBD therapy. We conducted a retrospective review of the mucosal healing effect of the SCD in pediatric Crohn disease (CD). The endoscopic findings for children younger than 18 years with CD treated exclusively with the SCD or modified SCD (mSCD; SCD + addition of “illegal foods”) were reviewed before and after the diet. Ileocolonoscopic examinations were scored according to the Simple Endoscopic Score for CD and findings on upper endoscopy were described. Seven subjects were identified, all on mSCD. The average age at starting the SCD was 11 ± 3.4 years and median duration of SCD/mSCD therapy was 26 months. All subjects reported no active symptoms before repeat endoscopic evaluation on mSCD, the majority had consistently normal C-reactive protein, albumin and hematocrit assessments, and mildly elevated fecal calprotectin (>50 μg/g, median 201, range 65–312) at any point within 3 months before the repeat endoscopy. One patient showed complete ileocolonic healing but persistent upper gastrointestinal tract ulceration. Complete macroscopic mucosal healing of both the ileocolon and upper gastrointestinal tract was not seen in any patient.

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