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What Having Had Polio Causes, Might Cause and Does Not Cause

Brian Tiburzi

Introduction: As time has elapsed since the major poliomyelitis epidemics ended, following the widespread introduction of the polio vaccines, persons affected by polio, their families and their healthcare providers seem to have less and less clear understanding about what symptoms are caused by polio, which are associated with polio and which are not. Many healthcare providers in practice today have …

Polio Doctors

Brian Tiburzi

There is no official certification for a “polio doctor.” The most common use of this informal designation is a physician with knowledge, experience and interest in evaluation and treatment of polio survivors. Given the most common new disabling medical problems of polio survivors, physicians with expertise in neuromuscular disease management that includes the ability to recognize and treat chronic musculoskeletal …

Post-Polio Clinics

Brian Tiburzi

WHO ESTABLISHES THE POST-POLIO CLINICS IN THE STATES AND HOW ARE THEY ORGANIZED? Joan L. Headley, MS, Executive Director To establish a post-polio clinic, a need has to be perceived for such a clinic. This need may be generated by the medical community, but more likely the catalyst will come from the demands of the post-polio population, in particular, the …


Brian Tiburzi

Technically, post-polio syndrome is not the same condition as Post-Polio Sequelae/ the late effects of polio. Post-polio syndrome is usually considered a specific new condition. A diagnosis of exclusion is used to determine if a patient has PPS. This means if a survivor of polio is found to have osteoarthritis, for example, that is what the diagnosis will be – osteoarthritis, not PPS. Because …


Brian Tiburzi

The criteria for diagnosing post-polio syndrome include: a prior episode of paralytic polio confirmed by medical history, neurologic examination, and, if needed, an electrodiagnostic exam to show changes consistent with prior anterior horn cell disease (exam is not required for limbs with obvious polio paralysis); a period of neurologic recovery followed by an extended interval of neurologic and functional stability, …

Evaluation Suggestions

Brian Tiburzi

To evaluate for post-polio syndrome, one must establish that an individual had paralytic polio and that current symptoms are due to the aftereffects of the remote polio and not due to other medical, orthopedic, or neurologic conditions. A comprehensive evaluation is done by a physician with input from members of a health care team who are experienced in the assessment …

ICD Codes

Brian Tiburzi

The International Classification of Diseases is a clinical cataloging system of alphanumeric designations given to every diagnosis, description of symptoms and cause of death attributed to human beings. It means that each diagnosis a human being may be given has a code, a numbered designation, that goes with it. That code means that every medical professional in the United States …

PHI’s Statement on Exercise for Polio Survivors

Brian Tiburzi

Advising all polio survivors not to exercise is as irresponsible as advising all polio survivors to exercise. Current evidence suggests that exercises are often beneficial for many polio survivors provided that the exercise program is designed for the individual following a thorough assessment and is supervised initially by knowledgeable health professionals. Polio survivors and their health professionals who are knowledgeable …