People who regularly suffer from hiccups, including cancer patients and those with brain injuries, could be offered some relief thanks to the development of a new intervention.

More than 90% of survey participants who used the ‘forced inspiratory suction and swallow tool’ – or FISST – reported it to be effective.

Developed by researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, FISST is a rigid drinking tube with a valve that requires the user to forcefully suck up water from a cup into their mouth. This action stimulates the phrenic and vagus nerves at the same time, which helps to relieve hiccups.

This action also causes the diaphragm to contract, while the suction and swallow causes the flap that covers the windpipe during swallowing to close. This stops hiccup spasms.

Dr Ali Seifi, associate professor of neurosurgery in UT Health San Antonio’s Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine, said: “Hiccups are occasionally annoying for some people, but for others they significantly impact quality of life. This includes many patients with brain and stroke injury, and cancer patients. We had a couple of cancer patients in this study. Some chemotherapies cause hiccups.”

The 249 participants who took part in the survey were asked to compare the effectiveness of the FISST compared to traditional home remedies, such as breathing into a paper bag.

Users reported that the FISST stopped hiccups in nearly 92% of cases, with just over 90% of participants reporting that it is easy to use.

It is now being marketed and it will soon be on the shelves of a major supermarket.

In the future, researchers are planning to run a clinical trial in America and Europe where one group is given a FISST to use while the other group is given a non-functional device.

Get our free newsletters

Stay up to date with the latest news, research and breakthroughs.

You May Also Like

Coronavirus: UK instructed to stay at home this weekend

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that staying at home this weekend…

Conversation about doctors’ appointments occurring virtually rumbles on

More than half of GP appointments are still being delivered remotely in…

Top diabetes professor drafts risk assessment document for frontline COVID-19 staff

The health and wellbeing of frontline NHS staff has been prioritised among…