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.
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.
Factors that may increase your chance of developing PPS include:
Symptoms may include:
If the symptoms during the first attack of polio were severe, the symptoms of PPS may also be severe.
The doctor will ask 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. Other, less common tests may include:
Treatment focuses on managing symptoms. The goals are to:
Treatment may include:
March of Dimes
Post-Polio Health International
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
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.
The Post-polio program. National Rehabilitation Hospital website.
Available at: http://www.nrhrehab.org/Patient+Care/Programs+and+Service+Offerings/Outpatient+Services/Service_Page.aspx?id=39.
Post-polio syndrome. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/post-polio-syndrome/DS00494/DSECTION=symptoms. Updated March 2, 2008. Accessed February 9, 2009.
Rowland LP, ed. Merritt's Neurology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005.
Last reviewed June 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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