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A very long-term longitudinal follow-up of persons with late effects of polio

Journal article
Authors Carin Willen
Linda Hou
Katharina Stibrant Sunnerhagen
Published in European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
Volume 56
Issue 2
Pages 155-159
ISSN 1973-9087
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Pages 155-159
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.23736/s1973-9087.20.0...
Subject categories Neurology

Abstract

BACKGROUND: As many as 60-80% of persons with a history of polio myelitis develop new symptoms, such as new or increased muscle weakness, muscle and joint pain, and fatigue several decades later, called postpolio syndrome (PPS). This may affect their ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL). It is still unclear if the patient's symptom is getting worse and in that case how much/fast the decline is. AIM: The aim of the present study was to evaluate long-term changes in disability in community dwelling patients with prior poliomyelitis, in contact with a polio clinic 14-16 years post their first assessment. DESIGN: A cross sectional longitudinal study. SETTING: Polio clinic. POPULATION: Fifty-two persons recruited from an earlier 4-year follow-up participated in the study. METHODS: A questionnaire was mailed prior to the visit at the polio clinic. Physical testing was performed by measuring muscle strength. walking speed and handgrip force. RESULTS: Overall there was a small change in muscle strength. A significant reduction in the right leg was found for flexion 60 degrees and in dorsal flexion. For the left leg a significant reduction was found for plantar flexion. In the walking tests. a significant reduction was seen for spontaneous walking speed. No significant interaction between decrease in spontaneous walking speed and the variables age, BMI and flexion 60 degrees and dorsal flexion in the right leg was seen. CONCLUSIONS: This cross-sectional longitudinal study shows small changes in muscle strength and disability. The results may imply that symptoms associated with late effects of polio are not progressing as fast as we had previously thought. CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: When health care professionals meet persons with late effects of polio the knowledge of long-term consequences of deterioration is important. Knowing that the deterioration is not as fast as previously thought, can help us to support the person in having a healthy lifestyle, stay active and encourage to perform adapted physical training.

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