What Causes Hiccups After Surgery?

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Hiccups resulting from surgery may be caused by a reaction to anesthesia or happen as a result of abdominal surgery or medical procedures such as a tracheotomy, states Healthline. Using a catheter to access the heart, bronchoscopy or using a stent in the esophagus can also result in long-term hiccups.

Long-term hiccups can result from damage to the central nervous system, which can cause the body to lose the ability to control hiccups, Healthline explains. Injury or irritation of the vagus or phrenic nerve can also cause hiccups. A stroke, infections that cause swelling of the brain, tumors or head trauma can also result in hiccups that are difficult to control. Many treatments are available for hiccups that range from simple at-home methods to the use of injections and surgical implantation of a pacemaker to control the diaphragm.

Hiccups occur when the diaphragm contracts out of rhythm in an uncontrolled manner, according to Healthline. The contractions cause a person's vocal cords and larynx to close, which causes air to rush into the lungs. Naturally, the body gasps and the result is the sound of a hiccup. Hiccups that last 48 hours are considered persistent hiccups, and those that last longer than two months are considered intractable hiccups.