Breath Sounds

Simply Breath sounds are the noises produced by the structures of the lungs during breathing. These sounds can be heard using a stethoscope. This is called auscultation. Normaly breath sounds by placing the stethoscope on

  • Chest
  • Back
  • Collarbone
  • Rib cage

There are 3 types of Breath Sounds.

1.Normal breathing sounds
2.Decreased or absent breath sounds
3.Abnormal breath sounds

Absent or decreased sounds can mean

  • Air or fluid in or around the lungs (such as pneumonia, heart failure, and pleural effusion)
  • Increased thickness of the chest wall
  • Over-inflation of a part of the lungs (emphysema can cause this)
  • Reduced airflow to part of the lungs

There are several types of abnormal breath sounds. The 4 most common are:

1. Rales - Small clicking, bubbling, or rattling sounds in the lungs. They are heard when a person breathes in (inhales). They are believed to occur when air opens closed air spaces. Rales can be further described as moist, dry, fine, and coarse.

2. Rhonchi - Sounds that resemble snoring. They occur when air is blocked or air flow becomes rough through the large airways.

3. Stridor - Wheeze-like sound heard when a person breathes. Usually it is due to a blockage of airflow in the windpipe (trachea) or in the back of the throat.

4.Wheezing - High-pitched sounds produced by narrowed airways. Wheezing and other abnormal sounds can sometimes be heard without a stethoscope.

Causes of abnormal breath sounds may
  • Acute bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Emphysema
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Foreign body obstruction of the airway
  • Pneumonia
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Tracheobronchitis


Thanks for reading Breath Sounds

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