Fatigue in postpolio syndrome

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1991 Feb;72(2):115-8.


A survey was conducted to better understand complaints of fatigue in patients previously diagnosed as having polio. Eighty-six individuals with postpolio syndrome and 20 healthy controls completed a questionnaire about their fatigue, the Beck Depression Inventory, and the CAGE questionnaire. The results showed that fatigue in postpolio syndrome usually occurred on a daily basis and increased in severity as the day progressed. Both the study group and controls described their fatigue as tiredness and a lack of energy. However, physical weakness was reported only in the postpolio group. Minimal physical exercise exacerbated fatigue in 48% of the postpolio group, whereas it diminished fatigue in 70% of the controls and in 15% of the postpolio group. Twenty-seven percent of the postpolio group and none of the controls reported mild to moderate depressive symptoms. However, depression, age, alcohol abuse, and employment status did not significantly affect the differences between groups in reported prevalence or description of chronic fatigue. Criteria to separate psychologic from organic causes of fatigue and treatment interventions are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Depression / complications
  • Employment
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postpoliomyelitis Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires