Hiccups in Cancer Patients Receiving Chemotherapy: A Cross-Sectional Study

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2021 Sep;62(3):e85-e90. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2021.02.012. Epub 2021 Feb 13.


Context: Hiccups are a symptom in cancer patients but it's less researched.

Objectives: The aimed to determine of prevalence of hiccups and treatment approach used in hiccup management in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy for nursing care.

Methods: This study used a descriptive cross-sectional design with self-reported questionnaires and was conducted from November 2018-May 2019 in Turkey. For collection of the data, a Patient Information Form (sociodemographic and disease characteristics), and a Hiccups Evaluation Form were used for the patients.

Results: Hiccups were observed in 37 (23%) of the 160 patients who met the criteria for inclusion in the study. The great majority of the patients suffering from hiccups were male (65.9%) and the type of cancer in the majority of these patients was gastrointestinal cancer (54.1%). It was determined that the duration of hiccups in 83.8% of patients observed with hiccups was between 0 and 48 hours, that the average severity of their hiccups was 3.81 ± 2.25 (0-10), and that hiccups in 59.5% of these patients was of low severity. It was found that only 10.8% of patients suffering from hiccups used pharmacological methods for relief and that 27% used nonpharmacological methods.

Conclusion: The results of the study showed that over one-fifth of cancer patients suffered from hiccups. This situation reveals that hiccups are an important symptom that needs to be carefully emphasised in oncology practice.

Keywords: Hiccups; cancer; chemotherapy; cross-sectional study; nurses.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hiccup* / chemically induced
  • Hiccup* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Turkey / epidemiology