A hiccup is caused by involuntary, intermittent, and spasmodic contractions of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles. It starts with a sudden inspiration and ends with an abrupt closure of the glottis. Even though a hiccup is thought to develop through the hiccup reflex arc, its exact pathophysiology is still unclear. The etiologies include gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory abnormalities, psychogenic factors, toxic-metabolic disorders, central nervous system dysfunctions and irritation of the vagus and phrenic nerves. Most benign hiccups can be controlled by traditional empirical therapy such as breath holding and swallowing water. However, though rare, a persistent hiccup longer than 48 hours can lead to significant adverse effects including malnutrition, dehydration, insomnia, electrolyte imbalance, and cardiac arrhythmia. An intractable hiccup can sometimes even cause death. We herein describe a patient with non-small cell lung cancer who was severely distressed by a persistent hiccup.
- Lung cancer