Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


spasmodic involuntary contraction of the diaphragm that results in uncontrolled breathing in of air; it is accompanied by a peculiar noise produced by a beginning inhalation that is suddenly checked by closure of the glottis. Hiccups have many different possible causes, such as rapid eating, irritation in the digestive or respiratory system, or irritation of the diaphragm muscle itself; they sometimes occur as a complication following some kinds of surgery or in serious diseases such as uremia and epidemic encephalitis; and they may have a purely emotional cause. The condition is serious only when it persists for a long time; hiccups usually stop after a few minutes. Called also hiccough and singultus.

Standard home remedies for hiccups include holding the breath, swallowing sugar or a bread crust, pulling the tongue forward, applications of cold to the back of the neck, simply sipping water slowly, and breathing into a paper bag. The bag has the effect of cutting off normal exchange of air with the surrounding atmosphere. The air in the bag, after a few breaths, will have an increasingly high carbon dioxide content, and so will the air in the lungs, and finally the blood. As a result, the automatic respiratory centers in the brain call for stronger and deeper breathing to get rid of the carbon dioxide. This frequently makes the contractions of the diaphragm more regular and eliminates the hiccups. (Patients should be cautioned not to use this paper bag method for longer than one minute at a time.) In extreme cases of prolonged hiccups, sedatives or antianxiety agents may be necessary.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.
An abrupt inspiratory muscle contraction, followed within 35 msec by glottic closure; the hiccup center is in the spinal cord between C3 and C5; an afferent impulse is carried by the vagus and phrenic nerves and thoracic sympathetic chain; the efferent impulse is carried by the phrenic nerve with branches to the glottis and accessory respiratory muscles
Aetiology Idiopathic, psychogenic, abdominal disease—gastric distension, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, bowel obstruction—esophagospasm or inflammation including hepatitis, peritonitis, gastritis, enteritis, appendicitis, pancreatitis, abrupt temperature change, alcohol, inferior wall MI, irritation of tympanic membrane, metabolic derangements—azotemia, hyponatraemia, uremia—diaphragmatic irritants, diseases of chest wall, lung, and heart—mediastinitis, tumours, aortic aneurysms, subphrenic abcesses, pericarditis—foreign bodies, excess smoking, excitement or stress, toxins, drugs—general anesthesia, barbiturates, diazepam, alpha-methyldopa—pneumonia, herpes zoster, central and peripheral nervous system disease—encephalitis, tumours, meningitis, brainstem infarcts, phrenic nerve compression, cervical cord lesions; intractable hiccupping may result in inability to eat or sleep, arrhythmias or reflux oesophagitis, or may be compatible with a normal life. The most recalcitrant case of hypersingultation occurred in an American pig farmer, which began in 1922, and continued to 1987
Management No therapy is consistently effective.Chlorpromazine, a dopaminergic blocker, and diphenhydramine may be as effective as—and more dignified than—standing on one’s head and other ‘folk’ maneuvers; other dopaminergic blockers include haloperidol, metoclopramide and apomorphine; rare cases respond to amantidine or amitriptyline, carbamazepine, nifedipine, baclofen, ketamine, phenytoin and lidocaine, with fewer side effects
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


, hiccough (hik'ŭp)
A diaphragmatic spasm causing a sudden inhalation interrupted by a spasmodic closure of the glottis.
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012
References in periodicals archive ?
On the other hand, speakers' intuition bristles up against their (noncanonical) imperative forms modelled after cases like rablok 'I rob'--raboljon 'let him rob', that is, csuklom 'I hiccough'--?csukoljon 'let him hiccough', hamlok 'I am peeling'--?hamoljon 'let him be peeling'.
These tics differ from one another by only the smallest degree, as the tics of inhalation shade, for example, through the four stages of sighs, sobs, yawns, and hiccoughs. The tics of exhalation shade from cough to laughter to the famous epidemics of hysterical barking:
Not stopping and restarting every second the server has a transfer rate "hiccough" keeps SLR moving at optimum.
Twenty-five years is a relatively long time for the Supreme Court to complete a constitutional hiccough. Hammer v.
She wipes the back of her hand across her face and shudders with a small hiccough of grief.
Even the fastidious Higginbottom throws in an occasional hiccough on 1988EH: the gaps in the metre in Let mine eyes run down at `We look'd for peace' (bar 45, 47) are tiny, but enough to be disturbing.
Philip et al [12] in their study noted more airway related events (Cough, hiccough) in the sevoflurane group and more haemodynamic events in the propofol group, which is consistent with our study.
He added: "We had a bit of a hiccough in our first game of the season but these things happen.
His socialist dictionary tells him that 'Global' means anywhere that is convenient to his argument and not that which covers the whole world, but then he probably considers a hiccough to be a cardiac arrest.
No matter that hiccough for I'd already decided on a starter called hush puppies that combined sweetcorn, cornmeal and spices.
They had a hiccough at home to Plymouth Argyle last week, but the trip over the Severn Bridge gives us a chance to bounce back.