Post-polio syndrome (PPS) is a condition that affects polio survivors. About 20% to 40% of people who recover from polio will later develop PPS. The onset may occur 10 to 40 years after the initial polio attack.
The exact cause is unknown. It is not due to the original polio virus. However, the virus can cause damage to nerve and muscle cells that may lead to the development of PPS.
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:
There are no guidelines for preventing PPS. But, polio survivors who keep physically fit may have a reduced risk of PPS.
March of Dimes
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
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The Post-polio program. National Rehabilitation Hospital website.
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Last reviewed May 2013 by Michael K. Mansour, MD, PhD
Last Updated: 5/20/2013