Ketogenic Diet Following Moderate to Severe Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury

  • End date
    Jun 11, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare
Updated on 4 October 2022
traumatic brain injury
severe traumatic brain injury


The primary objective of this study is to evaluate the feasibility and safety of using the ketogenic diet (KD) in children who sustained moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). The secondary objective is a preliminary evaluation of the outcomes of children who have had the standard of care plus the KD, compared to those with standard of care alone. Outcome measures for the secondary objective will include: need for ventriculoperitoneal shunt, duration of unconsciousness, need for any type of craniotomy, duration of post-traumatic amnesia, acute hospitalization length of stay, and cognitive and motor function at 12 months after injury. If this study demonstrates feasibility and safety, the information related to outcomes will be used to inform the planning of a future, larger, randomized study of the efficacy of the KD in children and adolescents with TBI. Specifically, this information will be used to assist with sample size calculations for this future study.


The KD is an alternative feeding regimen that has been in use since 1921. It is a high fat, low carbohydrate and moderate protein diet. There are various forms of the KD. The classic KD consists of long-chain triglycerides with a fat-to-combined-protein-and-carbohydrate ratio that can vary. At our institution, it is standard of care to initiate a ketogenic diet at a ratio of 2:1, and to increase the ratio to 3:1 or 4:1 as needed to achieve ketosis. Clinically, the KD has been proven to be an effective therapy in children and adolescents with refractory epilepsy, as well as for those with type II diabetes. In addition, an international consensus was published in 2009 that recommended the use of the KD to treat epilepsy refractory as an alternative to at least two antiepileptic medications. Before initiating the KD for epilepsy management, labs such as urine and blood ketones, blood glucose and a basic metabolic panel including magnesium are commonly recommended. Risks for long-term use of the KD include but are not limited to the following: hypercholesterolemia, mineral deficiencies, acidosis, constipation, weight loss and nephrolithiasis. However, short-term use should significantly limit the occurrence of these potential complications.

Condition Traumatic Brain Injury
Treatment Ketogenic diet
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04933448
SponsorGillette Children's Specialty Healthcare
Last Modified on4 October 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Age limits met at the time of injury and admission
Participants with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury defined as a Glasgow Coma Scale Score of 3-12 (lowest score in the first 24 hours after injury). Individuals requiring craniotomy and/or evacuation of intracranial hemorrhage may be included

Exclusion Criteria

Anoxia/ischemia as a significant portion of injury, including near-drowning
Currently on an oral diet at time of screening or currently on IV-only and in opinion of Pediatric Intensive Care Unit intensivist will be transitioning to an oral diet, not tube-feeding
Non-accidental traumatic brain injury (i.e., assault, abuse)
Penetrating injury including gunshot wounds
Any condition that in the opinion of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit or neurosurgery medical staff warrants exclusion from the study
Clear my responses

How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a study center
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
  • Sign up as volunteer to help accelerate the development of new treatments and to get notified about similar trials.

You are contacting

Investigator Avatar

Primary Contact



Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

Learn more

If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

Learn more

Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

Learn more

Similar trials to consider


Browse trials for

Not finding what you're looking for?

Every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers step forward to participate in research. Sign up as a volunteer and receive email notifications when clinical trials are posted in the medical category of interest to you.

Sign up as volunteer

user name

Added by • 



Reply by • Private

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur, adipisicing elit. Ipsa vel nobis alias. Quae eveniet velit voluptate quo doloribus maxime et dicta in sequi, corporis quod. Ea, dolor eius? Dolore, vel!

  The passcode will expire in None.

No annotations made yet

Add a private note
  • abc Select a piece of text from the left.
  • Add notes visible only to you.
  • Send it to people through a passcode protected link.
Add a private note