A man who suffered three bouts of persistent hiccups, lasting a few days each, over the span of one month finally learned the true reason for his health problems — a large tumor in the back of his neck, a new case report reveals.
The case was unusual because it’s fairly uncommon for the cause of such long-lasting hiccups to turn out to be a tumor, said Dr. Mark Goldin, an internal medicine hospitalist at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York, and a co-author of the case report, published online Jan. 28 in the journal BMJ Case Reports.
The reason the man had intractable hiccups — which are hiccups lasting longer than two days — was that his tumor was compressing his phrenic nerve, which is the neural pathway that goes to the diaphragm, the muscle just below the lungs that is involved in controlling breathing. The nerve was sending disturbed signals to the diaphragm, causing the muscle to contract involuntarily, leading to the hiccups, Goldin said.
Anything that can irritate the phrenic nerve, including certain infections and medications, might trigger a bout of