Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has returned to her Chappaqua home outside Manhattan after a three-day hospital stay to investigate and treat a venous blood clot below her skull.
The Secretary had contracted gastroenteritis after a European mission in early December. The stomach virus left her severely dehydrated, forcing her to cancel an important scheduled trip to North Africa and the Middle East, and contributing to her recent fall and concussion.
Blood clots in the head are serious and can be life-threatening if left untreated. They can cause neurological damage, including stroke, and brain hemorrhage. Mrs. Clinton's problem lies behind her right ear in one of the two large transverse sinus veins that shuttle blood flow out of the brain. Caregivers discovered it during follow-up care for the Secretary's recent concussion. It's likely that the head injury contributed to the clot's formation. Dehydration may have figured into the picture as well.
In the coming weeks or months, Mrs. Clinton will continue treatment with blood thinners (anticoagulant drugs such as heparin or warfarin [Coumadin®]) and increased hydration aimed at reducing or eliminating the clot and reopening the vein. Her condition will then be re-evaluated.
Doctors expect her to make a full recovery
Although she has been either hospitalized or on bed rest at home since her return to the United States from diplomatic visits abroad in mid-December, the Secretary has maintained communication within the State Department and also spoke with several foreign officials over the weekend. These recent overseas contacts have included the joint special envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, and Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, the prime minister/foreign minister of Qatar. Both of these officials have been key figures in rallying the Arab world to end Syrian president Assad’s assault on his own people.
Although Secretary Clinton will need monitoring over the next few months while on the anticoagulants, her prognosis is excellent, according to two expert neurosurgeons interviewed by The New York Times.
Her situation is not unprecedented in American political life. President Richard Nixon and Vice President Dick Cheney both suffered blood clots more severe than Clinton's while in office. Cheney in particular had repeated heart problems.
Based in Chicago, Sandy Dechert been covering Secretary Clinton's recent health crisis for Examiner.com. She has also reported on mental and physical health during winter holidays and the Obamacare debate. Ms. Dechert documented the procedure that saved the life of Good Morning America cohost Robin Roberts, Aimee Copeland's struggle with necrotizing fasciitis, and cancers Mary Tyler Moore, Sheryl Crow, and Brooke Burke have lived with.
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