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Functioning of the upper extremity in persons with late polio.

Journal article
Authors Katharina S Sunnerhagen
Åsa Lundgren Nilsson
Carin Willén
Published in European journal of neurology
Volume 18
Issue 2
Pages 354-358
ISSN 1468-1331
Publication year 2011
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages 354-358
Language en
Keywords activities of daily living; dynamometer; electromyography; muscle strength; polio; rehabilitation
Subject categories Neurology


Background: There are a number of people living with late effects of polio, but the extent of engagement with the upper extremity is unclear. The objective is to describe the polio involvement in persons attending the polio clinic and to assess the perceived problems in self-reported arm/hand function. Material and methods: A 1-year sample of consecutively examined community-dwelling people at the polio clinic. Electromyography and muscle strength were assessed as part of the clinical examination. A questionnaire regarding perceived problems in different activities involving arm/hand function was sent out prior to appointment and brought to the clinic. Results: A total of 186 persons were seen, and the majority was women (65%). The average age at examination was 60 years (SD 14), and the acute polio illness had occurred at 5 years of age (SD 7). Post-polio syndrome was present in 96%. Polio involvement in the upper extremities was seen in the majority, and this was often clinically unstable. Perceptions of problems in arm/hand activities did not always correlate with having had polio in the upper extremity or with mode of mobility. However, the grip force correlated significantly with the number of perceived problems. Bi-manual activities were more often perceived problematic. Conclusions: Polio involvement in the upper extremity is very common. There were no obvious correlations with the objective findings of polio and perceived problems. The polio survivors' adaptation requires more questions and assessments from the professional team to identify those with a possible need for intervention.

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