By Richard Shears
it's well-known to anyone in a relationship that love can hurt - but one woman was left partially paralysed after a romantic encounter went wrong.
In the first reported case of its kind, the 44-year-old from New Zealand suffered a stroke after her amorous partner gave her a love bite.
She was driven to hospital in Auckland, New Zealand, after she experienced loss of movement in her left arm after an amorous encounter.
Doctors suspected she had had a small stroke - but could not find any obvious cause.
Then they noticed a fading bruise on the right side of her neck - a love bite, also known as a hickey.
Underneath the bruise they found the cause of the stroke - damage to a major artery, where a blood clot had formed after the suction of the love bite.
The clot had then travelled to the woman's heart, causing the stroke. She then noticed the problem while she was sitting watching television.
'Because it was a love bite, there would be a lot of suction,' said Dr Teddy Wu, who treated the Maori woman at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital.
'To my knowledge, it's the first time someone has been hospitalised by a "hickey",' he said.
'Because of the physical trauma of the sucking, it had made a bit of bruising inside the vessel (the artery).
'The clot had gone into the woman's heart and caused a minor stroke that led to the loss of movement.
'We looked around the medical literature and that example of having a lovebite causing something like that hasn't been described before,'
The unnamed woman was treated with warfarin, an anti-coagulant, which resulted in the clot disappearing almost entirely within a week.
Dr Wu reported the case in the current edition of the New Zealand Medical Journal.
He told The Press newspaper in Christchurch that if the problem had not been treated quickly the woman could have suffered further strokes.
'Strokes have different levels of severity,' he said, 'but possibly patients can become paralysed.'