WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton developed a blood clot in her head but did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage, her doctors said Monday. They say they are confident that she will make a full recovery.
In a statement that revealed the location of the clot, Clinton’s doctors said it is in the vein in the space between the brain and the skull behind the right ear. She is being treated with blood thinners to help dissolve the clot, the doctors said, and she will be released once the medication dose has been established.
Clinton, 65, is making excellent progress and is in good spirits, Dr. Lisa Bardack of the Mount Kisco Medical Group and Dr. Gigi El-Bayoumi of George Washington University said in a statement.
Clinton, who was spending a second day at a New York hospital, developed the clot after suffering a concussion earlier in December. She had fainted, fallen and struck her head at home while battling a stomach virus, her spokesman said. She has not been seen publicly since Dec. 7.
Phillipe Reines, her spokesman, said her doctors discovered the clot Sunday while performing a follow-up exam on the concussion. She was admitted to New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
Clinton’s complication “certainly isn’t the most common thing to happen after a concussion” and is one of the few types of blood clots in the skull or head that are treated with blood thinners, said Dr. Larry Goldstein, a neurologist who is director of Duke University’s stroke center. He is not involved in Clinton’s care.
The area where Clinton’s clot developed is “a drainage channel, the equivalent of a big vein inside the skull – it’s how the blood gets back to the heart,” Goldstein said.
Blood thinners usually are enough to treat the clot and it should have no long-term consequences if her doctors are saying she has suffered no neurological damage from it, Goldstein said.
Clinton had planned to step down as secretary of state at the beginning of President Barack Obama’s second term. Whether she will return to work before she resigns remained a question.