Background: Recent studies in adults have shown that polymeric (whole protein) diets are as effective as semi-elemental and elemental formulae for the induction of remission in small bowel Crohn's disease. Whole protein diets are more palatable and cheaper. There have been no studies confirming efficacy in children.
Patients and methods: We report our experience with seven children with active small bowel Crohn's disease given a casein-based, polymeric feed rich in TGF-beta 2 (Specific Polymeric Diet; Nestle-Clintec; Vevey, Switzerland) as complete nutrition for 8 weeks.
Results: Initial and follow-up assessments were performed. All children showed a significant improvement in disease activity, with C-reactive protein returning to normal, an increase in serum albumin and a good weight gain. Initial and follow-up ileal biopsies were assessed and showed reduced mucosal inflammation in six of seven children, with complete healing in two.
Conclusion: In an uncontrolled descriptive study we have shown that a polymeric (whole protein) diet is a therapeutic option for small bowel Crohn's disease in children. By comprehensive follow-up we have demonstrated clinical and biochemical remission, with an improved endoscopic appearance and a reduction of mucosal inflammation in the terminal ileum.