US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
suffered a blood clot
in a vein between her brain and skull behind her right ear but is expected to make a full recovery, her doctors said on Monday in a statement released by the State Department.
Clinton did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage as a result of the clot, the doctors said, adding that "she is in good spirits, engaging with her doctors, her family and her staff."
The US secretary of state, who has not been seen in public since Dec. 7, was revealed on Sunday evening to be in a New York hospital under treatment for a blood clot that stemmed from a concussion she suffered in mid-December.
was itself the result of an earlier illness, described by the State Department as a stomach virus she had picked up during a trip to Europe that led to dehydration and a fainting spell after she returned to the United States.
Clinton. Expected to make full recovery (Photo: Reuters)
"In the course of a routine follow-up MRI on Sunday, the scan revealed that a right transverse sinus venous thrombosis had formed. This is a clot in the vein that is situated in the space between the brain and the skull behind the right ear," Clinton's doctors, Drs. Lisa Bardack and Gigi El-Bayoumi said in the statement released by the State Department.
"To help dissolve this clot, her medical team began treating the Secretary with blood thinners. She will be released once the medication dose has been established," the doctors said. "In all other aspects of her recovery, the Secretary is making excellent progress and we are confident she will make a full recovery."
Clinton's condition is unusual, but by no means unheard-of.
"This condition is not very common, but it certainly happens," said Dr. Raj Narayan, chair of neurosurgery at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York. It probably happens more often than we realize, he said, because it must be diagnosed with an MRI, as Clinton's was.
Narayan, who is not treating Clinton, said it likely was caused by her dehydration and the concussion that occurred from her fall. Head trauma can cause blood clots, Narayan said, because the injury triggers the production of thromboplastin, a blood protein that causes the blood to clot.
The severity depends in part on how someone is built, he said.
People normally have two of the veins where Clinton suffered the clot. Some people, however, have only one, while others have two but one is much larger than the other. The prognosis is typically better if you have two normal veins because the blood could flow through the other vein if one is blocked.
"Think of it as two pipes draining all of the blood out of the brain," Narayan said. "If one is blocked and the other is open, there is no problem. But if both pipes are blocked, you are in trouble."