Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland remains hospitalized with minor stroke, expects to return to work later this week

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen is expected to remain for a few more days at the George Washington University Hospital, where he was admitted after suffering a minor stroke while delivering a weekend speech to Western Maryland Democrats.

The 63-year-old Maryland Democrat stayed at the hospital Monday for observation out of “an abundance of caution,” according to his staff.


He was taken there after feeling lightheaded and suffering neck pain while speaking at the Western Maryland Democratic Summit at the Rocky Gap Casino Resort near Cumberland.

An angiogram Sunday indicated he suffered “a minor stroke in the form of a small venous tear at the back of my head,” the senator said in a written statement.


The most common kind of stroke, known as “ischemic,” is most often caused by a clot blocking blood flow to the brain.

But bleeding in the brain also can be labeled as a stroke — a “hemorrhagic” one.

“Instead of a blood vessel closing, it leaks,” said Dr. Elisabeth Breese Marsh, associate professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Van Hollen spokeswoman Francesca Amodeo said Monday that the senator’s stroke was not ischemic, and that there was no blood clot. She said further comment should come from members of his medical team.

None of Van Hollen’s physicians at George Washington University Hospital were available.

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Patients enduring both sorts of strokes — hemorrhagic and ischemic — often have complete recoveries, said Marsh, who is also director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital in East Baltimore. She is not involved in Van Hollen’s care.

She said the outcomes typically depend on such factors as the magnitude of the stroke, its location and “the overall fitness of individuals.”

Hemorrhagic strokes account for about 13% of stroke cases, according to the American Stroke Association. Symptoms can vary based on where in the brain the bleed occurs but can include numbness or weakness in part of the face or body, confusion, severe headache, and difficulty speaking, walking and/or seeing.


After completing his speech, Van Hollen returned to his Montgomery County home. He soon checked in with the Senate’s attending physician and was advised to get checked out by doctors at the hospital in Washington, D.C.

His condition was not evident in his speech in Western Maryland, according to a tweet by Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Montgomery County Democrat.

“Sending all good wishes and prayers for a continued speedy recovery to Senator Chris Van Hollen, who gave an excellent and inspiring speech at the Western Maryland Democratic Summit even as he apparently suffered this mild stroke. We’re with you, Chris!” Raskin tweeted Sunday.

Van Hollen, who is up for reelection this year, said in his statement that, “Fortunately, I have been informed that there are no long-term effects or damage as a result of this incident” and that he looked forward to returning to work later this week.