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Radio Host's Hiccups Lead To Serious Diagnosis

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- We all occasionally get hiccups, but what if they last and don't go away? That's what happened to SportsRadio 94WIP radio host Big Daddy Graham. A recent bout of relentless hiccups led to a serious diagnosis.

Big Daddy Graham is back home in South Jersey after three days in the hospital.

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"I started hiccupping like a fool, and it just wouldn't stop," he said.

At first, the talk radio host and comedian thought having the hiccups was funny. He even talked about it on the air. He was bombarded with thousands of suggestions for curing hiccups, which are usually caused by eating or drinking too fast.

"I was drinking vinegar on the air," he said. The usual solution, holding your breath, didn't work either.

His hiccups eventually got so bad, he went to the hospital where he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib, an abnormal heart rhythm.

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"It was affecting my breathing, and yes, it did get scary," he said.

Big Daddy was treated by Dr. Philip Nimoityn, cardiologist and clinical assistant professor at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University.

Dr. Nimoityn says hiccups are "not a typical symptom of AFib." The typical symptoms of AFib are fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain, but not hiccups. So what's going on with Big Daddy?

"Hiccups can be precipitated by a lot of factors, including various stresses, and so can atrial fibrillation. It's possible that whatever set off one set off the other, but they are not necessarily directly related," Dr. Nimoityn said.

Big Daddy's hiccup episodes are better but not gone. He says he used to dealing with health issues that have included back surgeries, throat cancer, and now AFib.

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"They're saving my life at the moment," he said. "A little bit of water, a little bit of pills, you know the routine."

Big Daddy wanted to let everyone know he's back to work on the radio and doing standup. Saturday night, he has a comedy show at the Tropicana with Dom Irerra. Saturday, March 19, he performs at Phoenixville's Colonial Theatre with Joe Conklin and special MC Ray Didinger.

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