Acute flaccid paralysis
Citation, DOI & article data
Acute flaccid paralysis is a syndrome resulting from a wide array of underlying conditions. The features are of a fairly rapidly progressing lower motor neuron pattern weakness with potential involvement not only of the limbs but also of muscles of the pharynx, trunk and diaphragm 1.
Historically poliomyelitis was the most common cause and many health authorities have ongoing reporting guidelines 3,4.
There are numerous causes of acute flaccid paralysis (see below) and these causes also vary dramatically between different populations. As such all ages and genders are affected, and these are discussed separately.
Patients presenting with acute flaccid paralysis have a rapid onset of quadriparesis or paraparesis with weakness reaching maximum severity over the course of several days to weeks, depending on the underlying cause (see below) 1.
Causes of acute flaccid paralysis include 1:
- acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
- acute flaccid myelitis
- acute intermittent porphyria
- acute transverse myelitis
- Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and variants
- hypokalemic paralysis
- myasthenia gravis
- organophosphate poisoning
- poliomyelitis-like syndrome
- snake bite
- spinal cord tumors
- spinal cord compression
- spinal cord ischemia
- tick bite paralysis
- viral meningoencephalitis
- 1. Bhalla A, Prabhakar S, Rajan R, Kaushik R, Kharbanda P. Acute Flaccid Paralysis in Adults: Our Experience. J Emerg Trauma Shock. 2014;7(3):149. doi:10.4103/0974-2700.136847 - Pubmed
- 2. Soltani J, Esmailnasab N, Roshani D, Karimi M, Amjadi M. Acute Flaccid Paralysis and Its Differential Diagnosis in in Kurdistan Province, Western Iran; an 11-Year Surveillance. Iran J Pediatr. 2014;24(2):131-9. PMC4268831 - Pubmed
- 3. Queensland Government (Australia) Acute flaccid paralysis guidelineswww.health.qld.gov.au/cdcg/index/afp
- 4.National institute for communicable diseases; Acute flaccid paralysis hwww.nicd.ac.za/diseases-a-z-index/acute-flaccid-paralysis-afp