Hillary Clinton's Hospital Care for Clot Continues

WEDNESDAY Jan. 2, 2013 -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remained in a New York hospital on Wednesday, as she continues to be treated for a blood clot in her head.

Her doctors at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital are treating the obstruction -- which they believe is linked to a concussion she suffered in December -- with blood thinning medication. Clinton, 65, will remain in the hospital until the appropriate dose is determined, according to published reports.

The clot is in a location outside of the brain, in a vein in the space between the brain and the skull behind Clinton's right ear. The general term for the condition is called cerebral venous thrombosis. Clinton's doctors reported that she did not experience any stroke or neurological injury from the clot, and they expect her to make a full recovery.

Clinton was admitted late Sunday after doctors discovered the clot during a regular follow-up exam, said Clinton's State Department spokesman, Philippe Reines, in a statement.

Clinton canceled most of her public events over the past few weeks because of the head injury.

According to the Associated Press, the clot is in the space between the brain and the skull behind Clinton's right ear. Doctors are optimistic that blood thinners (anticoagulants) will dissolve it.

In the meantime, Clinton's spirits are high and she is progressing well, according to a statement from Dr. Lisa Bardack of the Mount Kisco Medical Group and Dr. Gigi El-Bayoumi of George Washington University, the AP reported.

Doctors not involved in Clinton's care said blood thinners are typically used to dissolve clots, and patients may need to be on them for weeks or months.

Dr. David Langer is a brain surgeon and an associate professor at Hofstra-North Shore-Long Island Jewish School of Medicine, in New York. He told the Times that clots typically form in the leg or in a major vein in the head. Quick treatment can break up the clot, but if left untreated these obstructions can cause a brain hemorrhage, he said.

Clinton had been on a strenuous travel schedule in her role as Secretary of State. According to Bloomberg, information on the State Department's website calculates that the Secretary of State has traveled 949,706 miles and visited 112 countries over 401 days -- about 2,084 hours, or nearly 87 days spent airborne.

But she has been seen less in recent weeks. On Dec. 9, a day before Clinton was to depart for a trip to North Africa, her staff announced that she had caught a stomach virus and the trip was cancelled. On Dec. 15, Reines issued a statement saying that, "while suffering from a stomach virus, Secretary Clinton became dehydrated and fainted, sustaining a concussion." On Dec. 18, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Clinton was "on the mend," and by Dec. 28 Nuland added that Clinton would be returning to work the following week. But the discovery of the clot on Sunday seems to be another health setback.

More information

There's more on blood clots at the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Posted: January 2013


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