A case report of Vagus nerve stimulation for intractable hiccups.
INTRODUCTION: Intractable hiccups frequently result from an underlying pathology and can cause considerable illness in the patients. Initial remedies such as drinking cold water, induction of emesis, carotid sinus massage or Valsalva manoeuvre all seem to work by over stimulating the Vagus nerve. Pharmacotherapy with baclofen, gabapentin and other centrally and peripherally acting agents such as chlorpromazine and metoclopramide are reserved as second line treatment. Medical refractory cases even indulge in unconventional therapies such as hypnosis, massages and acupuncture. Surgical intervention, although undertaken very rarely, predominantly revolves around phrenic nerve crushing, blockade or pacing. A novel surgical strategy is emerging in the form of Vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) placement with three cases cited in literature to date with varying degrees of success. Here the authors report a case of VNS placement for intractable hiccups with partial success, in accordance with SCARE-2018 guidelines.
PRESENTATION OF THE CASE: An 85-year-old gentleman with a 9-year history of intractable hiccups secondary to pneumonia came to our hospital. The hiccups were symptomatic causing anorexia, insomnia, irritability, depression, exhaustion, muscle wasting and weight loss. The patient underwent countless medical evaluations. All examinations and investigations yielded normal results. The patient underwent aggressive pharmacotherapy, home remedies and unconventional therapies for intractable hiccups but to no avail. He also underwent left phrenic nerve blocking and resection without therapeutic success. The patient presented to our hospital and decision for VNS insertion was taken for compassionate reasons considering patient morbidity. The patient demonstrated significant improvement in his symptoms following VNS insertion.
DISCUSSION: A temporary hiccup is an occasional happening experienced by everyone. However, intractable hiccups are associated with significant morbidity and often mortality. Several medical, pharmacological, surgical and novel treatment options are available for intractable hiccups.
CONCLUSION: VNS insertion is a novel surgical option for the treatment of intractable hiccups.
PMID: 33360634 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]
Int J Surg Case Rep. 2020 Dec 16;78:219-222
Authors: Tariq K, Das JM, Monaghan S, Miserocchi A, McEvoy A