A Philadelphia radio personality faced a work-hindering health problem in recent days. Not the flu or even food poisoning, typical ailments that call for a sick day or two. Instead, CBS Philly's Big Daddy Graham battled a long-lasting bout of the hiccups.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that as Graham prepped for a 2 a.m. radio show about a week ago, he was overtaken by persistent hiccups. He took to the airwaves anyway, but the hiccup attack was difficult to hide.
"I started getting bouts of three to four hiccups in a row," Graham, who's been with 610 WIP radio for almost 20 years, told the paper. "It's a hard thing to hide on the air."
On February 26, he reported hiccuping for 41 hours straight. A few days later, he said it was 101 hours and counting.
The radio personality had to cut short a trip to New York City, and spent more than five hours in the emergency room of a New Jersey hospital, but "ten minutes after they released me, I started hiccupping again."
He finally ended up back in Philadelphia, at Jefferson University Hospital, where he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (also called AFib or AF), a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). The condition can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications, according to the American Heart Association. An estimated 2.7 million Americans have AFib.
This isn't the first major health issue Graham has had to deal with. He said he's undergone three back surgeries and three throat surgeries, has throat cancer and suffered a "mini heart attack" last Labor Day weekend.
"I'm a very bad eater with very bad hours, but that's the price I pay for doing a job I don't consider work," Graham told the newspaper.
So what's the hiccup-AFib connection?
Dr. Howard Levite, director of cardiology at Staten Island University Hospital, told CBS News, "AFib is caused by many, many things." In someone with risk factors for the heart condition, who is getting into a higher risk age group, a bad cold or a couple too many glasses of wine can trigger AFib.
Hiccup-related AFib would be very unusual, though, Levite said. "We don't want everybody with hiccups running to the cardiologist."
But it's possible hiccups could be linked to a heart rhythm issue because the nerve that is thought to trigger hiccups runs right behind the heart and could cause irritation.
Levite, who is not involved in Graham's treatment, said he has a hunch "we're not getting the full story."
Meanwhile, Graham has been busy retweeting and thanking well-wishers on Twitter, where he tweeted Tuesday, "out of hospital 2nite&back on airFriday!-thanx 4 yr getBetterWishes."