Photo dated December 5, 2012 shows US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a press conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels. AFP
WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been hospitalized after suffering a blood clot following an accident earlier this month, her senior State Department aide Philippe Reines said Sunday.
Clinton fell ill with a stomach bug that led to her fainting and suffering a concussion, but her office had insisted she was recovering and the top US diplomat was expected back at her desk Monday.
"In the course of a follow-up exam today, Secretary Clinton's doctors discovered a blood clot had formed, stemming from the concussion she sustained several weeks ago," Reines said in a statement.
"She is being treated with anti-coagulants and is at New York Presbyterian Hospital so that they can monitor the medication over the next 48 hours," he said, referring to a major hospital in Clinton's home state.
"Her doctors will continue to assess her condition, including other issues associated with her concussion. They will determine if any further action is required," he added.
Reines did not elaborate further on the condition of Clinton, 65. It was not clear in which part of her body the clot had been found nor if it was life-threatening.
Previously in 1998, when she was first lady in the White House of her husband and then-president Bill Clinton, Clinton suffered a blood clot in her leg that she has described as "the most significant health scare I've ever had."
"That was scary because you have to treat it immediately -- you don't want to take the risk that it will break lose and travel to your brain, or your heart or your lungs," she told the New York Daily News in October 2007.
Clinton has been off work since her return from her last foreign trip on December 7, although her staff has said she has been working from home.
Her lengthy absence from public life had sparked claims from some of her fiercer critics that she was trying to avoid testifying before lawmakers investigating a deadly attack on a US mission in Libya.
Earlier this month, the State Department said Clinton had contracted a bad stomach virus during her five-day stay in Europe. She had to cancel a planned trip to North Africa and Abu Dhabi due to the illness.
A week later, Clinton's doctors said she had become severely dehydrated due to the effects of the stomach bug and had fainted, suffering a concussion.
They recommended she rest at home and avoid, through mid-January, the high-intensity travel she had been accustomed to taking as secretary of state.
Clinton has flown almost a million miles since taking office four years ago, visited 112 countries and spent some 400 days in a plane.
The secretary's health prevented her from testifying on December 20 to US lawmakers about the attack on the US diplomatic post in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on September 11.
The assault, in which the US ambassador and three other American officials were killed, sparked a political firestorm in the United States.
Republican lawmakers and some media outlets opposed to the administration criticized Clinton's absence from the hearings.
Some alleged she had faked the illness, a charge her office vigorously denied, while vowing that she would testify next month when able.
Clinton, who is due to step down from her post in early 2013, also stayed away from the White House last week when President Barack Obama nominated her replacement, veteran Senator John Kerry.
She issued a statement paying tribute to her successor.
There was no immediate reaction from the White House to her hospitalization. (AFP)