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 related 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.
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 focuses on managing symptoms. The goals are to:
Treatment may include:
March of Dimes
Post-Polio Health International
When It Hurts to Move—Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Dalakas M. IVIg in other autoimmune neurological disorders: current status and future prospects. J Neurol. 2008;255(Suppl 3):12-16.
Howard R. Poliomyelitis and the postpolio syndrome. BMJ. 2005;330(7503):1314-1318.
Postpolio syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115891/Postpolio-syndrome. Updated June 15, 2015. Accessed August 14, 2017.
Post-polio syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Post-Polio-Syndrome-Fact-Sheet. Updated April 16, 2014. Accessed August 14, 2017.
What is post-polio syndrome? Post-Polio Health International website. Available at: http://www.post-polio.org/edu/pps.html. Accessed August 14, 2017.
Last reviewed August 2017 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP
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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