Getaw Worku Hassen, an emergency-room physician at Metropolitan Hospital, has been fascinated by patients who present with hiccups and are given a diagnosis of a pulmonary embolism ever since he admitted the first case nearly two years ago. A thorough review of the medical literature turned up only a single previous case, and yet in Hassen’s hospital there have been three such cases in just two years. Was this a fluke? Or was it that these cases are actually more common than previously known — that hiccups can be indicative of a pulmonary embolus?
See your doctor if your hiccups last more than 48 hours, or if they interfere with your ability to breathe or eat. There are several forms of medication that your doctor might use to treat hiccups, such as anticonvulsants and benzodiazepines. There also are treatments that involve massaging different locations on the body. Hiccups can sometimes be triggered by medications you are taking or an underlying health condition. Though medical science has yet to nail down a sure cure for the hiccups, there are hundreds of home remedies out there. How most of these remedies work, however, is based on a few basic mechanisms of action: increasing carbon dioxide levels, disrupting the nerve impulses, or relaxing the diaphragm.