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Hiccups or Singultus : Causes and Treatment

  • May 28, 2010
  • 1 min read
Hiccups or Singultus : Causes and Treatment

Hiccups or Singultus

Hiccups most of the time are only benign phenomena and only last for a transient period. Seldom there may a serious disorder underlying the cause of hiccups. It may range from, Idiopathic cause to AMI and acute pancreatitis. Several differential diagnoses of cause of Hiccup are:

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Common Causes:

  • Idiopathic
  • Excessive smoking
  • Excess of alcohol
  • Air swallowing
  • Anxiety
  • Esophagitis
  • Uremia
  • Diaphragmatic Spasm ( Cyclical) after laughing, coughing, crying etc
  • Intake of large bolus of food with inadequate liquid.

Less common Causes:

  • Acute Myocardial Infarction
  • Gastric irritation or distension
  • Pancreatitis
  • Subphrenic abscess
  • Cholecystitis
  • Perforated intrabdominal viscus wih air under diaphragm
  • Phrenic nerve tumors


  • For simple hiccups, Home remedies : Distraction of attention, fright, painful or unpleasant stimuli, breathholding and sipping iced water are helpful.

Medical Measures:

  1. Sedation
  2. Nasopharyngeal stimulation with soft catheter
  3. Gargling and swallowing viscous lidocaine
  4. Antispasmodics
  5. Rebreathing CO2
  6. Antacids, Bacfen. Phenothiazines.
  7. Bilateral phrenectomy- for intractable hiccups

Source: Manual Of Emergency Medicine, Wikipedia

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