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Eur Respir J. 1993 Apr;6(4):563-75.

Hiccup in adults: an overview.

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Service de Pneumologie, Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France.


Hiccup is a forceful, involuntary inspiration commonly experienced by fetuses, children and adults. Its purpose is unknown and its pathophysiology still poorly understood. Short hiccup bouts are mostly associated with gastric distention or alcohol intake, resolve spontaneously or with simple folk remedies and do not require medical attention. In contrast, prolonged hiccup is a rare but disabling condition which can induce depression, weight loss and sleep deprivation. A wide variety of pathological conditions can cause chronic hiccup: myocardial infarction, brain tumour, renal failure, prostate cancer, abdominal surgery etc. Detailed medical history and physical examinations will often guide diagnostic investigations (abdominal ultrasound, chest or brain CT scan...). Gastric and duodenal ulcers, gastritis, oesophageal reflux and oesophagitis are commonly observed in chronic hiccup patients and upper gastrointestinal investigations (endoscopy, pH monitoring and manometry) should be included in the diagnostic evaluation systematically. Etiological treatment is not always available and chronic hiccup treatment has classically relied on metoclopramide and chlorpromazine. Recently, baclofen (LIORESAL) has emerged as a safe and often effective treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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