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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2020 April;56(2):155-9

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.20.05918-3

Copyright © 2020 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

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

Carin WILLEN 1 , Linda HOU 2, Katharina STIBRANT SUNNERHAGEN 2, 3

1 Department of Health and Rehabilitation, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; 2 Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; 3 Sunnaas Rehabilitation Hospital, Nesodden, Norway



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° 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° 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.


KEY WORDS: Longitudinal studies; Postpoliomyelitis syndrome; Physical functional performance

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