Minutes after having sex with her boyfriend, a 35-year-old woman suffered a stroke, paralysing the left side of her face. But she miraculously recovered after therapy.
Loyola University Medical Centre doctors attributed the stroke to related factors including birth control pills, a venous blood clot, sexual intercourse and a heart defect.
Birth control pills slightly increase the risk of blood clots. Doctors believe a small clot formed in one of the veins in her thigh, broke loose and moved to the right atrium, the heart's upper right pumping chamber.
Normally in such cases, the clot will get pumped out of the right atrium and travel to the lungs, where it may harmlessly dissolve.
Pressure changes in the heart, triggered by sex, enabled the clot to travel through the hole from the right atrium to the left. From there, the clot travelled up to the brain.
According to Jose Biller, co-author of the report at the department of neurology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, the woman was taken to a community hospital, then transferred to Loyola.
A neuroradiologist inserted a catheter (thin tube) into a groin artery, and guided it up to the spot in the brain where the clot was lodged. Soon the clot began to dissolve. The improvement was immediate and dramatic.
The unique case has been described in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease.