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Post-polio Syndrome

Definition

Post-polio syndrome (PPS) is a condition that affects polio survivors. About 20%-40% of people who recover from polio will later develop PPS. The onset may occur 10-40 years after the initial polio attack.

Causes

The exact cause is unknown. It is not due to the original polio virus itself. Instead, the syndrome is due to nerve and muscle damage that may have been caused by the original infection.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of developing PPS include:

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:
If the symptoms during the first attack of polio were severe, the symptoms of PPS may also be severe.

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A neuromuscular exam may also be done. PPS may be hard to diagnose because symptoms come and go. The symptoms may also overlap with other diseases.
Testing often involves electromyography. This measures how well your nerves and muscles are communicating.
Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with an MRI scan.
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:

Treatment

Treatment focuses on managing symptoms. The goals are to:
Treatment may include:

Prevention

There are no guidelines for preventing PPS. But polio survivors who keep physically fit may have a reduced risk of PPS.

RESOURCES

March of Dimes http://www.marchofdimes.org

Post-Polio Health International http://www.post-polio.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org

Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

References

Dalakas M. IVIg in other autoimmune neurological disorders: current status and future prospects. Journal of Neurology. 2008;255(Suppl 3):12-16.

Howard R. Poliomyelitis and the postpolio syndrome. BMJ. 2005;330:1314-1318.

Post-polio syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/post%5Fpolio/detail%5Fpost%5Fpolio.htm. Updated April 16, 2014. Accessed September 5, 2014.

What is post-polio syndrome? Post-Polio Health International website. Available at: http://www.post-polio.org/edu/pps.html. Accessed September 5, 2014.

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