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Clinton’s Blood Clot Is Near The Brain

Doctors treating Secretary of State Clinton have released some details about her condition:

(Reuters) – U.S. 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 U.S. secretary of state, who has not been seen in public since December 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.

The concussion 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 and that led to her becoming dehydrated and fainting after she returned to the United States.

“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.”

At The Atlantic Dr. Richard Shenelick, a neurologist, explains what’s at stake:

A blood clot on top of the brain after trauma is a subdural or epidural hematoma and usually requires surgery to remove the blood clot. These are very dangerous — Natasha Richardson, Liam Neeson’s wife, died from an epidural hematoma after a mild head injury skiing in Canada. But, Secretary Clinton’s venous sinus thrombosis is very rare and quite uncommon after a mild head injury.

Blood is carried from the heart to the brain under high pressure in four main arteries. Just like elsewhere in the body, the blood returns to the heart through a series of low pressure veins. What is different in the brain, is that there are a number of small lakes or “sinuses” where are similar to rivers feeding a lake, the small veins returning the blood. One of these, called the transverse sinus, is located behind the ear (where press releases have said her clot was), inside the skull and is vulnerable to trauma. Under normal conditions the blood would slowly flow through the sinus, but it can clot (thrombosis) for a number of reasons, including pregnancy, cancer, infection, head injury, and certain medications.

(…)

It is best to try and dissolve the clot or at least to keep it from increasing in size. This is done by using the same medicines that we use to treat blood clots in the veins in the legs, thrombophlebitis. Depending on the individual patient and her doctor, they may choose different ways to “thin” the blood or keep it from clotting. The most common is to administer heparin into a vein the arm by an intravenous drip. The degree of blood thinning or anticoagulation can be carefully monitored by regular blood tests. Once everything is stable, an oral medication, warfarin, is started and eventually the IV drip of heparin can be discontinued. Although it may vary, most patients will remain on an oral anticoagulant for 3-6 months.

Hopefully the treatment will be successful, the blood clot dissolved and complications averted. As we enter the New Year we wish Secretary Clinton a speedy and full recovery

Indeed.

Clinton is being treated in the same hospital where her husband had his bypass operation more than ten years ago and is quite obviously in the best of  medical hands at the moment. Hopefully this will just be a passing episode and she’ll recover fully in a short period of time. Incidentally, a story like this is a good reason why head trauma of any kind should always been taken seriously.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    thrombophlebitis

    What I “suffer” from. I am on warfarin for the rest of my life as I have had 2 bouts of it. While the first time I was stuck in ICU for 6 days (couldn’t get out of bed for 5) tt is really just a pain in the butt at this point. I had minor surgery on Friday and had to go off the warfarin for 5 days before and 5 days after, and give myself shots of lovenox instead. One good side effect of all this is that for the first time in 4+ yrs my gums don’t bleed when I brush my teeth. I guess that will end 2 days from now when I go back on the warfarin.

    I highly doubt Clinton will have to go on long term warfarin as her clot is directly attributable to an injury. Mine is genetic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  2. @OzarkHillbilly:

    Hope you’re doing well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. Franklin says:

    Can we assume that people who accused her of making up the concussion story will soon be forthcoming with their apologies?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  4. Brainster says:

    “I am hopeful that everyone will learn how to use the word hopefully correctly,” he said hopefully.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. David says:

    @Franklin: Of course we can, by the way, I have a bridge I am looking to sell, any interest in it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. JKB says:

    @Franklin:

    Or they could go with this much juicier story….Clinton was injured in a plane crash while on a secret mission to Iran . Now we are getting into 1960s political thriller territory.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  7. An Interested Party says:

    Or they could go with this much juicier story….Clinton was injured in a plane crash while on a secret mission to Iran . Now we are getting into 1960s political thriller territory.

    The sad thing about that, apart from it being totally loony, is that perhaps you might believe it, if your previous ramblings are any indication…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  8. swearyanthony says:

    @Franklin: ha. Althouse is doubling down. She’s busily calling herself a free speech martyr because lots of folks found her earlier posts quite loathsome. It still blows my mind that someone with such a poor grasp on reality is a tenured professor of law. Now that their “birth certificate” and “fast and furious” chew toys have fallen apart on them, the “benghazi” one is the new favorite.

    Same old same old. Whitewater, Vince Foster, the moon landing, fluoride in the water system. Whack jobs are always with us.

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