Background: Persistent and intractable hiccups indicate multiple neurologic and extraneurologic disorders. Chronic hiccup is not so rare in patients suffering from stroke: its impact on quality of life and on rehabilitation management is substantial, and it may be closely related to aspiration pneumonia, respiratory arrest and nutritional depletion.
Review summary: Intractable hiccups can be associated with potentially fatal consequences and safe management may require inpatient rehabilitation. It has been suggested that hiccups could be a form of myoclonus, caused by repeated and abnormal activity of the solitary inspiratory nucleus. Because of this cause we decided to treat intractable hiccups in patients with ischemic lesions of the medulla with a short course of gabapentin.
Conclusions: The results were promising, with the immediate disappearance of the hiccups, and the complete absence of side effects. The 36-months follow up was favorable to all the patients, who, after 6 days of treatment remain asymptomatic.