Persistent postoperative hiccups: a review

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 1993 Oct;37(7):643-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-6576.1993.tb03781.x.


The pathogenesis of persistent postoperative hiccups is not known. Hiccups can present as a symptom of a subphrenic abscess of gastric distention, and metabolic alterations may also cause hiccups. The hiccups may develop because of increased activity in neural reflex pathways not yet fully defined. Numerous treatment modalities have been tried but with questionable success. Valproate has proven effective in two trials investigating persistent non-surgical hiccups. The simple application of a nasogastric tube may successfully treat the hiccups, possibly because of an alteration of the activity in the reflex neural pathways involved. The available literature on the treatment of persistent hiccups is reviewed, and a treatment protocol for persistent postoperative hiccups is provided.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hiccup / etiology*
  • Hiccup / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Time Factors