8 months ago I had a stroke and I had a constant hiccup. Is it related? – 08/31/2021

8 months ago my father had a stroke and had a constant hiccup, is there a relationship?

Yes, it may be related. The hiccup is eventually a sequel of stroke when the disease occurs in the brainstem region. Located in the CNS (central nervous system), the brainstem is responsible for controlling several functions in our body, including breathing. So, if this area suffers any problems, it can develop hiccups.

The ideal is to talk to a neurosurgeon so that he can assess the region where the stroke occurred. If it really is in the brainstem, the ideal is that the treatment is done with the use of medication. There are some drugs that act on the CNS and help control hiccups.

And you know that story about drinking cold water or giving a person a scare? It will do no good. As the hiccup in this case is related to the brain, these actions will not be promising. And if the drug is not as effective, other measures have been adopted. Among them are: acupuncture, hypnosis and surgical interventions, such as the section of the phrenic nerve (which starts in the neck and passes between the lung and the heart to reach the diaphragm), or just its blockage with the use of local anesthetics. In more extreme situations, implantation of a respiratory pacemaker, a device that controls the diaphragm by electrical stimulation of the phrenic nerve, may be necessary.

It is worth understanding that hiccups, in less severe and more common cases, can arise from involuntary and intermittent muscle contraction of the inspiratory intercostal muscles, including the diaphragm. And the result is a quick inspiration, which ends with the abrupt closing of the glottis — located between the two vocal folds, preventing the inhaling of air, which produces the characteristic sound.

Sources: Carlos Alberto Mattozo, neurosurgeon and member of the clinical staff at Hospital Universitário Cajuru, in Curitiba; Heverty Rocha, neurosurgeon physician at the HU-Univasf (University Hospital of the Federal University of Vale do São Francisco), in Pernambuco, which is part of the Ebserh Network (Brazilian Hospital Services Company); Julius Pereira, neurosurgeon at BP – A Beneficência Portuguesa in São Paulo; Tatiana Vilasboas, neurosurgeon at Hospital San Gennaro, in São Paulo.

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