Use of paced respiration to alleviate intractable hiccups (singultus): A case report

Duane F. Hurst, Catherine L. Purdom, Michael J. Hogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback is an emerging treatment for many health conditions involving dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system including hypertension, gastric pain, anxiety, and depression. Hiccups are frequently considered an annoyance. However, when intractable (lasting over 1 month), they can become debilitating, with some patients resorting to invasive treatments that often involve the phrenic nerve. Theoretically, HRV biofeedback should also provide a means to stimulate the phrenic nerve and could be an alternative option. We report the successful treatment of a 5 year-long case of intractable hiccups with one session of HRV biofeedback training. These results suggest that biofeedback may be a useful, non-invasive means of relieving intractable hiccups. No clear causality can be inferred from a single case, and further study is needed to determine if this finding has wider applicability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-160
Number of pages4
JournalApplied Psychophysiology Biofeedback
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Biofeedback
  • Heart rate variability
  • Hiccups
  • Singultus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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