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6.01 Singultus (Hiccups)


Presentation

Recurring, unpredictable, clonic contractions of the diaphragm produce sharp inhalations. Hiccups are usually precipitated by some combination of laughing, talking, eating, and drinking, but may also occur spontaneously. Most cases also resolve spontaneously, and do not come to the emergency department unless prolonged or severe.

What to do:

Discussion

Hiccups are a common malady and fortunately usually transient and benign. The common denominator among various hiccup cures seems to be stimulation of the glossopharyngeal nerve, but, as for every self limiting disease, there are always many effective cures.

"...hold your breath, and if after you have done so for some time the hiccup is no better, then gargle with a little water, and if it still continues, tickle your nose with something and sneeze, and if you sneeze once or twice, even the most violent hiccup is sure to go." --Eriximachus the physician to Aristophanes, in Plato's Symposium

References:


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from Buttaravoli & Stair: COMMON SIMPLE EMERGENCIES
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Craig Feied, MD
Mark Smith, MD
Jon Handler, MD
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