Photo: Ulla Åström

The correct diagnosis and treatment has made a big difference to Stig

This is Stig’s patient story, where he was interviewed in October 2020 by Maria Wallin Wållberg, CEO of Likvor AB. Stig is 76 years old and lives in Luleå.

I have a background as a professional painter and football player and “nod specialist”. That is why my neck has been particularly exposed and problematic. But what happened in 2017, I had not experienced before, I fell off the bike which I did not think much more about, at the time. But it happened on several occasions and that my wife discovered that I had difficulty finding out of the chair when I would sit down. I fell to the floor and my wife did not always get me up but needed to call for help from our son, it was as if my coordination did not work. My balance got worse and in the end, I sought help at the health center when the idea came that it could be dementia, for example Alzheimer’s.

At Bergnäset’s medical center, I was well received by Dr. Bellander. He let me do tests like drawing, walking in a corridor and testing my balance. Then he sent a referral to Sunderbyn so I could do an X-ray. But they found nothing wrong with me. Me and the wife were thinking about what it might be because I had such a bad balance.

I lost my balance, coordination, was incontinent and had a lot of headaches but thanks to my responsive doctor at the medical center I got to see the right specialist doctor who could diagnose NPH and I had to do an operation that made me symptom-free! I'm so grateful!

Stig Åström

As a painter, I have worked with strong solvents, so we wondered if that was the reason why I had bad balance. Gradually I did fewer things that I otherwise thought were fun and natural like driving a car, fix at home when I have always been handy. Now I felt clumsy and my wife noticed that I was depressed too and did not have the same strength as before.

In 2018, when we moved out of our house for 50 years, I had problems with incontinence. Also had a lot of headaches and that my balance was so bad that I felt sick, so then I went back to the medical center. My doctor then sent a referral to Umeå University Hospital to see if I could get a so-called shunt, a drain from the brain. In Umeå I had to do several tests such as walking and balance tests on time, psychological test, and they tested if I could be better off by a shunt operation. I could! so on January 23, 2020 I had a shunt implanted that directs the extra fluid that was in my brain down to the abdomen.

I was filmed both before and after the surgery and the film shows what a big difference there is on my gait and balance. Now I go straight and have good balance and no problems with incontinence. The Corona pandemic came between me so I could not do a post-operative check as it was first planned, I did it now in September 2020. I had a lot of headaches that lasted from the surgery in January until I did the post-inspection of the shunt with that machine, CELDA, which they have in Umeå. Now I feel good except that I get relapses of headaches when I cough! My neck problems from previous profession is still a problem but otherwise I feel so good!

In conclusion, I would like to thank my doctor I met at the health center who understood my problems and was able to send me to the right place for an NPH diagnosis and treatment. Doing this shunt operation has made such a big difference to me.

More information

If you are looking for more information, guidance or support, please visit the Swedish Association normal pressure hydrocephalus for Patients and Relatives , its American counterpart Hydrocephalus Association, The Swedish Neuroregistry or your nearest health centre .