Pulmonary dysfunction and its management in post-polio patients

John R. Bach, Margaret Tilton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Respiratory dysfunction is extremely common and entails considerable risk of morbidity and mortality for individuals with past poliomyelitis. Although it is usually primarily due to respiratory muscle weakness, post-poliomyelitis individuals also have a high incidence of scoliosis, obesity, sleep disordered breathing, and bulbar muscle dysfunction. Although these factors can result in chronic alveolar hypoventilation (CAH) and frequent pulmonary complications and hospitalizations, CAH is usually not recognized until acute respiratory failure complicates an otherwise benign upper respiratory tract infection. The use of non-invasive inspiratory and expiratory muscle aids, however, can decrease the risk of acute respiratory failure, hospitalizations for respiratory complications, and need to resort to tracheal intubation. Timely introduction of non-invasive intermittent positive pressure ventilation (IPPV), manually assisted coughing, and mechanical insufflation-exsufflation (MI-E) and non-invasive blood gas monitoring which can most often be performed in the home setting, are the principle interventions for avoiding complications and maintaining optimal quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-153
Number of pages15
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology


  • Artificial ventilation
  • Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome
  • Poliomyelitis
  • Rehabilitation


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