Drugs

New device could mean a cure for hiccups

person with hand over mouth

An easy-to-use scientific invention may provide a much-needed cure for hiccups.

Although many home remedies exist, a practical and efficient cure for hiccups is still sorely needed. Researchers from the University of Texas may have developed a solution for those who suffer from hiccups in the form of a new tool.

Many may rely on holding their breath or respiring into a paper bag, but most home remedies aren’t overly reliable and are inconsistent in their effectiveness.

Researchers based out of the University of Texas Health Center in San Antonio, Texas have created a simple straw-like device with the ability to suppress, or “cure”, hiccups. The forced inspiratory suction and swallow tool, or “FISST”, allows the user to end their bout of hiccups by simply sucking at the mouthpiece.

Branded as “HiccAway”, the FISST works to eliminate hiccups by creating high negative intrathoracic pressure. The user applies a large amount of suction at the mouthpiece, pulling the water up the body of the tube. This results in the user’s epiglottis closing and diaphragm contracting.

Almost 700 volunteers from across the world were provided the FISST device and asked about their experience using the product in comparison to home remedies. The majority of participants were made up of adults and were almost evenly split between male and female.

FISST more effective cure for hiccups than home remedies

A 1 to 5 Likert Scale was utilized, where 1 and 5 were strongly in favor of home remedies and FISST, respectively. Of the valid participant responses, approximately 91% reported that FISST was more effective than the home remedies that they would have normally turned to. The average rating provided by the valid participants, based on the Likert Scale, was 4.58.

What’s next?

Although the results are extremely promising, there are many limitations and biases in this report. Firstly, the rating system is completely subjective, based on the unique perspective and experience of each participant. Although a large number of volunteers were included in the survey comparing FISST to home remedies, randomized clinical trials are needed for future studies.

Source:

Alvarez J, Anderson JM, Snyder PL, et al. Evaluation of the Forced Inspiratory Suction and Swallow Tool to Stop Hiccups. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(6):e2113933. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.13933

Image by Darko Djurin from Pixabay 

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