Former First Lady and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was hospitalized for a blood clot Sunday night following a concussion she suffered two weeks ago. The clot was diagnosed as cerebral venous thrombosis, which is a rare and potentially “life-threatening” condition, according to some medical experts.
Dr. Brian D. Greenwald, medical director at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Center for Head Injuries, said Clinton was lucky that her team thought to have her get a follow-up MRI. “It could have potentially serious complications,” he said. Greenwald also said that the clot could have caused a hemorrhage or stroke.
“Imagine this vein, where all the cerebral spinal fluid inside the head and spine no longer flows through this area,” Greenwald said. “You get a big back up and that itself could cause a stroke. In the long-term … the venous system can’t get the blood out of the brain. It’s like a Lincoln Tunnel back up.”
The clot was discovered by Dr. Lisa Bardack and Dr. Gigi El-Bayoumi during Clinton’s follow-up MRI. In a statement, the doctors said:
“This is a clot in the vein that is situated in the space between the brain and the skull behind the right ear. It did not result in a stroke, or neurological damage. 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.”
Dr. Keith Black, head of neurosurgery at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, said Clinton’s diagnosis was surprising.
“If I were her treating physician, you would have to ask, why did she develop a thrombosis,” Black said. “A very unusual event following a concussion without a skull fracture.”
Black said Clinton may have been predisposed to the formation of blood clots.
Hillary Clinton is expected to make a full recovery. She will have more time to rest at home once she officially resigns as Secretary of State. But she hasn’t given up her duties yet, releasing a statement to send Haiti her “best wishes” as the country celebrates its 229th anniversary of independence.
“The United States is proud to be Haiti’s neighbor and partner today and in the years to come supporting Haiti’s work to ensure that every Haitian is able to live up to his or her god-given potential,” Clinton said. “May this year, and many to come, bring peace, prosperity and stability.”