UPDATE: Hilary Clinton hospitalized for blood clot: What can happen after a concussion?

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
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Secretary of State Hilary Clinton who sustained a concussion earlier this month has been hospitalized in New York after physicians discovered a blood clot on follow-up visit; reported by multiple news sources. Clinton fell in December, sustaining the head injury after she became dehydrated from a viral infection.

Physicians haven’t disclosed where the blood clot is located, but say they are planning to treat Clinton with blood thinners. The most commonly used blood thinner is Heparin administered intravenously or subcutaneously. Sometimes patients remain on oral anticoagulants until the blood clot is dissolved.

Clots that develop after a concussion can sometimes cause blood vessels to tear that leads to clots. The worst case scenario is a large clot that can form and displace the brain.

It’s not uncommon for clots to develop – known as hematomas – days or weeks after a concussion. Small hematomas can be treated without surgery. If they become large from ongoing bleeding, surgery is required to evacuate blood and keep pressure off the brain to prevent neurological complications that might include seizures or stroke.

Blows to the head cause the brain to bounce against the skull, which is how tears to blood vessels occur, much like a bruise.

All concussions, even those that are considered mild, are taken seriously by clinicians. Head injuries that are sports related have recently been in the news as researchers look for better ways to treat brain injuries due to symptoms that can persist months after head trauma occurs.

Symptoms related to concussion are generally self-reported and might include ongoing headache, dizziness, decreased mental alertness, difficulty thinking and fatigue, ringing in the ears, nausea or sensitivity to light or noise.

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Though sources have not disclosed the location of Mrs. Clinton's blood clot, they do say the finding is related to her concussion.

Bed rest after a head injury could lead to deep vein thrombosis or DVT - a clot that occurs in the lower extremities. Sometimes clots in the legs can travel to the lungs and is known as a pulmonary embolism.

Some risk factors for DVT include sitting for prolonged periods, history of previous clots, being overweight and being over age 60.

The Huffington Post reports Clinton’s spokesman, Philippe Reines said the clot was discovered Sunday during an exam. Hilary Clinton is expected to remain in the hospital for 48 hours while physicians monitor her medications.

"Her doctors will continue to assess her condition, including other issues associated with her concussion," Reines said in a statement. "They will determine if any further action is required." Hilary Clinton had been maintaining a grueling related to her duties as Secretary of State. We sincerely wish her a speedy and uneventful recovery.

UPDATE:
12/31/12
Hilary Clinton's physician have confirmed she has a blood clot in her brain. Secretary of State Clinton is said to be doing well and is making "excellent progress", the New York Daily News reported.. The clot is located in a vein between the skull and right ear. It was discovered on a routine MRI scan. There is no information if Clinton was experiencing symptoms, but her medical team notes she has had no neurological damage, nor did she suffer a stroke.

Resources:
AANS
Mayo Clinic

Image credit: Wikimedia commons

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