Frequency and Symptomatology of Hiccups in Patients With Cancer: Using an On-Line Medical Community to Better Understand the Patient Experience

Christopher Ehret, Colleen Young, Christine J. Ellefson, Lee A. Aase, Aminah Jatoi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Cancer patients are at risk for hiccups, but the incidence and impact on quality of life are unclear. Methods: A survey (modified from the Functional Living Index with the inclusion of qualitative elements) was developed and launched on an 80,000-member medical social media platform, Mayo Clinic Connect https://connect.mayoclinic.org/. Results: Among 213 respondents, 34 (16%; 95% CI: 11, 22%) reported “yes” that they had experienced hiccups with cancer therapy. Of those patients who reported hiccups, only 12 (35%) were men, and most were older than 50 years of age. Over 25% noted that hiccups occurred frequently around the time of cancer therapy; 30% described that hiccups interfered with their leisure or recreational activities; and over 15% described hiccups interfered with their ability to enjoy a meal. A few patients seemed to express frustration with hiccups with comments such as, “Totally uncontrollable,” “It’s extremely pain[ful] with throat cancer,” and “Once I had them bad. Almost choked.” Conclusion: Hiccups occur in16% of patients who are receiving cancer therapy and, by our estimates and extrapolation, appear highly problematic in approximately 5%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • adverse event
  • chemotherapy
  • dexamethasone
  • hiccups
  • side effect
  • singultus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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