Yesterday evening the U.S. Secretary of State was hospitalized in New York City for treatment and monitoring of a thrombosis in a cerebral vein. Her doctors expect a full recovery. What that means
We see it all the time. Someone takes a blow to the head that stuns them for a moment. They don't lose consciousness. They don't even "see stars" or forget where they are. They might fall at home, on the ski slopes, or while trying to show their grandchildren that they remember how to roller skate. Maybe they have a nagging headache and some dizziness that just won't go away.
Then, about 2-3 weeks later, their family notices some subtle changes in their memory and personality, or their headaches suddenly worsen. Their doctor sends them for a CT scan of their brain, and their jaws drop open when they hear her say, "You have a blood clot pressing down on the top your brain. We call it a subdural hematoma." The doctor goes on to say, "You may need an operation on your brain."
This is what some were speculating was the problem that resulted in Secretary Clinton's hospitalization yesterday, as it a State Department press release said it was related to a fall with head trauma earlier in the month. What didn't make sense with that were the reports that her doctors were giving her "blood thinners" to treat her problem. We would never do that to someone with a blood clot around their brain -- unless it was not a subdural hematoma at all, but a clot within a blood vessel. The most recent reports of "venous sinus thrombosis" mean just that. It makes sense to physicians, but what does it mean, and how can something that sounds so serious as a blood clot in the brain have such a positive prognosis?