Top Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is suffering from a rare blood clot in a vein in her head but should make a full recovery, doctors said as she spent New Year’s Eve in hospital.
A routine follow-up scan on Sunday revealed “that a right transverse sinus venous thrombosis had formed”, doctors Lisa Bardack, of Mount Kisco Medical Group, and Gigi El-Bayoumi, of George Washington University, said on Monday.
They described it as “a clot in the vein that is situated in the space between the brain and the skull behind the right ear”.
But they were also quick to offer reassurances, saying in their statement that “it did not result in a stroke, or neurological damage”.
Mrs Clinton was admitted to the New York-Presbyterian Hospital on Sunday following the discovery and is being treated with blood thinners to dissolve the clot. She will be released “once the medication dose has been established”.
“In all other aspects of her recovery, the secretary is making excellent progress and we are confident she will make a full recovery. She is in good spirits, engaging with her doctors, her family, and her staff,” Bardack and El-Bayoumi’s statement said.
The globe-trotting diplomat has not been seen in public after succumbing to a stomach virus on returning from a trip to Europe on December 7, which forced her to cancel a planned visit to North Africa.
It’s a rare absence for the most popular member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet, who has been a highly visible and loyal supporter of his foreign policy agenda, travelling almost a million miles in her four years in office.
A Gallup poll released on Monday showed Mrs Clinton again topping an annual list of women most admired by Americans, winning support from 21 per cent of those surveyed. It is the 17th time she has topped the list, a landmark for Gallup.
But Mrs Clinton, 65, has made it clear she intends to step down in the coming weeks, once Senator John Kerry, tapped by Obama to replace her, is confirmed by the Senate.
Though once seen as a deeply divisive figure, she now has approval ratings above 60 per cent.
And many believe she will run again for the White House in 2016, despite being narrowly defeated by Obama for the Democratic nomination in 2008.
It is possible however that her health could become an issue in any White House bid, as she would mark her 70th birthday in her first year in office.
Mrs Clinton’s lengthy absence from public life had sparked claims from some of her fiercest critics that she was faking illness to avoid testifying before lawmakers investigating a deadly attack on a US mission in Libya.
The September 11 assault on the US mission in eastern Benghazi, in which the US ambassador and three other American officials were killed, sparked a political firestorm in the United States.