Experience with the ketogenic diet in infants

Douglas R. Nordli*, Maxine M. Kuroda, Joanne Carroll, Dorcas Y. Koenigsberger, Lawrence J. Hirsch, Harlan J. Bruner, William T. Seidel, Darryl C. De Vivo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

228 Scopus citations


Objective. To evaluate the effectiveness, tolerability, and adverse effects of the ketogenic diet in infants with refractory epilepsy. Methods. A retrospective review of 32 infants who had been treated with the ketogenic diet at a large metropolitan institution. Results. Most infants (71%) were able to maintain strong ketosis. The overall effectiveness of the diet in infants was similar to that reported in the literature for older children; 19.4% became seizure-free, and an additional 35.5% had >50% reduction in seizure frequency. The diet was particularly effective for patients with infantile spasms/myoclonic seizures. There were concomitant reductions in antiepileptic medications. The majority of parents reported improvements in seizure frequency and in their child's behavior and function, particularly with respect to attention/alertness, activity level, and socialization. The diet generally was well-tolerated, and 96.4% maintained appropriate growth parameters. Adverse events, all reversible and occurring in one patient each, included renal stone, gastritis, ulcerative colitis, alteration of mentation, and hyperlipidemia. Conclusion. The ketogenic diet should be considered safe and effective treatment for infants with intractable seizures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-133
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Adverse effects
  • Effectiveness
  • Infants
  • Intractable seizures
  • Ketogenic diet
  • Safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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