WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton continued to recover Tuesday at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, where she's being treated for a blood clot near her brain.
Her doctors said blood thinners were being used to dissolve the clot and they are confident she will make a full recovery. Clinton didn't suffer a stroke or neurological damage from the clot that formed after she suffered a concussion during a fainting spell at her home in early December, doctors said Monday.
Clinton, 65, was admitted Sunday, when the clot turned up on a follow-up exam related to the concussion, Clinton spokesman Phillipe Reines said. The clot is in the vein in the space between the brain and the skull behind Clinton's right ear. She will be released once the medication dose for the blood thinners has been established, the doctors said.
In their statement, Dr. Lisa Bardack of the Mount Kisco Medical Group and Dr. Gigi El-Bayoumi of The George Washington University said Clinton was making excellent progress and was in good spirits.
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.
This isn't the first time Clinton has suffered a blood clot. In 1998, midway through her husband's second term as president, Clinton was in New York fundraising for the midterm elections when a swollen right foot led her doctor to diagnose a clot in her knee requiring immediate treatment.
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 remains a question.
Democrats are privately, if not publicly, speculating: How might her illness affect a decision about running for president in 2016? After decades in politics, Clinton has said she plans to spend the next year resting and has no intention of running for the presidency.
Her age -- and thereby health -- would probably be a factor under consideration, given that Clinton would be 69 when sworn in, if she were elected in 2016.