Content » Vol 27, Issue 3

A comparison of symptoms between Swedish and American post-polio individuals and assessment of lower limb strength--a four-year cohort study.

Agre JC, Grimby G, Rodriquez AA, Einarsson G, Swiggum ER, Franke TM.
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School, USA
DOI: 10.1080/165019779527183192


A cohort study with initial and 4-year follow-up evaluations was performed in 78 post-polio volunteers aged 34-65 years at the time of enrolment in the study, which was made to compare post-polio individuals living in Sweden and the United States, to determine whether lower limb musculature becomes weaker over time, and to determine whether individuals with complaints of post-polio syndrome, new weakness, fatigue, walking or stair climbing difficulty were weaker or lost more strength over a 4-year interval than those individuals without such complaints. Dynametrically-measured knee extensor and flexor strength and questionnaire data were obtained initially and 4 years later. The two cohorts were fairly similar, though they differed in weight gain. The Americans gained significantly (p < 0.05) more weight than the Swedish subjects. Both groups lost significant (p < 0.05) knee extensor strength (approximately 8%), but the loss was not significantly (p < 0.05) different between the groups. Knee flexor strength did not change significantly (p < 0.05) over time. Subjects acknowledging new strength loss were not significantly (p < 0.05) weaker than those denying strength loss; however, they lost significantly (p < 0.05) more isometric knee extensor strength than the other individuals. Subjects acknowledging new fatigue, walking or stair climbing difficulty were significantly (p < 0.05) weaker in both muscle groups than those without such complaints. Subjects acknowledging post-polio syndrome were significantly (p < 0.05) weaker than those denying this symptom, but the amount of loss of strength over time was not significantly (p < 0.05) different. We conclude that the two cohorts were quite similar. Knee extensor strength decreased during the study interval. Individuals acknowledging post-polio syndrome had weaker knee extensor musculature. Subjects with new fatigue, walking difficulty, or stair climbing difficulty were weaker in both the knee extensors and the knee flexors than the other subjects. Subjects reporting new muscle weakness also had a greater decline in isometric knee extensor strength during the study interval than those without such complaint.

Lay Abstract


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