A patient may develop hiccups postoperatively. Usually these are transient but they may become persistent depending on the cause.


Complications associated with post-operative hiccups:

(1) interfere with eating

(2) interfere with sleep

(3) distress


Surgical sites most commonly associated with hiccups:

(1) intra-abdominal surgery

(2) urinary tract and/or prostate

(3) central nervous system

(4) thorax


Stimulation of nerve:

(1) phrenic nerve (hyperextension of neck, stimulation of diaphragm)

(2) vagus nerve

(3) superior or recurrent laryngeal nerve (glottis stimulation during intubation)



(1) bowel obstruction

(2) gastric distention

(3) traction of diaphragm or intra-abdominal viscera

(4) ileus

(5) pancreatitis

(6) cholecystitis or gallbladder distension

(7) esophagitis

(8) peritonitis

(9) intra-abdominal hemorrhage

(10) subphrenic abscess

(11) residual tumor (usually with nerve involvement)



(1) general anesthetics

(2) short acting barbiturates

(3) dexamethasone or IV steroids



(1) hypoventilation or hyperventilation (hypocarbia)

(2) anxiety

(3) pneumonia

(4) electrolyte disturbance (hypokalemia, hypocalcemia, hyponatremia)

(5) uremia

(6) sepsis


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