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Hillary Clinton Expected To Make A Full Recovery


It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm David Greene. Most of the time your health is a private matter between you and your doctor. But when you're Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, it is hard not to provide some information.

INSKEEP: One day after a very brief statement about her medical condition, her doctors gave more details. They say a brain scan revealed a blood clot that was situated in the space between the brain and skull behind her right ear. She was admitted Sunday to New York Presbyterian Hospital, though doctors say they're confident she will make a full recovery. NPR's Joe Palca reports.

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: The secretary has been unwell for some weeks now. She had a stomach virus and while she was recovering from that she fainted and struck her head, resulting in a concussion. The clot she has is in something called the right transverse sinus. Sinuses are like gutters that drain blood from the brain to large veins. Those veins return the blood to the heart. The transverse sinus is just one of several sinuses in the head. The technical term for Secretary Clinton's condition is a right transverse sinus venous thrombosis. Lee Schwamm is vice chairman of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He's not Secretary Clinton's doctor, but he's treated patients with her condition. So, what is a thrombosis of a sinus?

DR. LEE SCHWAMM: So, a thrombosis of a sinus is when that sinus backs up like a plugged gutter with leaves. In this case, with clot.

PALCA: Now, if the blood that backs up can't find another way to drain from the brain, there can be severe problems. But that does not seem to be the case with Secretary Clinton.

SCHWAMM: Most people have alternative places that blood like this could drain.

PALCA: Doctors treating Secretary Clinton say to help dissolve the clot, they have begun treating her with blood thinners. Schwamm says this is a process that will take some time.

SCHWAMM: Treatment would usually be for several months. Usually three months or so.

PALCA: Secretary's Clinton's doctors say she will be released from the hospital once they determine the proper dose for her medication, something that varies from person to person. Her doctors say they expect the secretary will make a complete recovery. Her condition is not like having a stroke, where there can be lasting or even permanent deficits in movement or thinking. According to her doctors, the secretary is in good spirits. She's been engaging with her medical team, her family and her staff. Joe Palca, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.