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Hiccups & Who’s Getting Them?

Hiccups have ailed humans and mammals since the beginning of time, an annoying thing that happens with little reason and no real solution However, there are times that hiccups are no longer just annoying but heavily interfere with eating, sleeping and the quality of life overall.

Since 2017 “How to get rid of hiccups” has been one of the top 5 most asked health related questions on google. More and more people are suffering from hiccups, and some even hospitalized. Yes, hospitalized from the hiccups.

A study recently completed in 2022, led by Ali Seifi MD, associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at UT Health San Antonio, and Mark R. Fox MD. of University Hospital Zürich and Klinik Arlesheim, found a stagering 23,615 patients a year may have been admitted to hospitals in the US for severe hiccups from 2005 – 2018. During this 14 year study period, Nationwide Inpatient Sample( NIS) database of the United States healthcare recorded 330,620 patients admitted from the emergency rooms that had hiccups as one of their discharge diagnoses.

Cases of hiccups may not always have been recorded; however, the number of patients admitted included in the study was large enough not to suspect any systematic bias. These results depend on the accuracy and completeness of the information entered into the NIS database.

The research also shows a large percentage of patients were men in their late 50s. Some of these patients could see $70,000 in medical expenses from being admitted to the hospital for their hiccups.

Most of these hospital admissions have been associated with Gastrointestinal Disease, Acid Reflux Disease, and Chemotherapy for cancer. Patients with Gastrointestinal Disease are 3 times as likely to get hiccups, and patients with Neurological disorders are 2 times more likely to have a hiccup attack.

The information provided in this study will help clinicians to develop pertinent differential diagnoses for patients presenting persistent or recurrent hiccups. We are just now learning how common hiccups can be, and some of the underlying causes of hiccups that may have you visiting the hospital for treatment.

Study of demographics and etiological trends in hiccup hospitalizations in the United States during 2005-2018, A cross-sectional study _ Elsevier Enhanced Reader

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