Breath sounds
Respiratory sounds refer to the specific sounds identified through auscultation
Auscultation is the term for listening to the internal sounds of the body, usually using a stethoscope...

 of the respiratory system
Respiratory system
The respiratory system is the anatomical system of an organism that introduces respiratory gases to the interior and performs gas exchange. In humans and other mammals, the anatomical features of the respiratory system include airways, lungs, and the respiratory muscles...

 with a stethoscope
The stethoscope is an acoustic medical device for auscultation, or listening to the internal sounds of an animal body. It is often used to listen to lung and heart sounds. It is also used to listen to intestines and blood flow in arteries and veins...


In this context, "adventitious sounds" refers to sounds heard apart from the normal sounds of inspiration
Inhalation is the movement of air from the external environment, through the air ways, and into the alveoli....

 and expiration
Expiration is an independent feature film written, directed and starring Gavin Heffernan. It was the winner of the Grand Jury Prize and Best Film at the Canadian Filmmakers' Festival....


Types of adventitious breath sounds

Name Continuous/discontinuous Inspiratory/expiratory Associated conditions
A wheeze is a continuous, coarse, whistling sound produced in the respiratory airways during breathing. For wheezes to occur, some part of the respiratory tree must be narrowed or obstructed, or airflow velocity within the respiratory tree must be heightened...

continuous expiratory or inspiratory asthma
Asthma is the common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath...

, many others
Stridor is a high pitched wheezing sound resulting from turbulent air flow in the upper airway. Stridor is a physical sign which is produced by narrow or obstructed airway path. It can be inspiratory, expiratory or biphasic . Inspiratory stridor is common...

continuous Either, mostly inspiratory epiglottitis
Epiglottitis is an inflammation of the epiglottis - the flap that sits at the base of the tongue, which keeps food from going into the trachea . Due to its place in the airway, swelling of this structure can interfere with breathing and constitutes a medical emergency...

, foreign body etc
Rhonchi is the coarse rattling sound somewhat like snoring, usually caused by secretion in bronchial airways. Rhonchi is the plural form of the singular word rhonchus.-Description:...

continuous Either, more pronounced in expiratory bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is an inflammation of the large bronchi in the lungs that is usually caused by viruses or bacteria and may last several days or weeks. Characteristic symptoms include cough, sputum production, and shortness of breath and wheezing related to the obstruction of the inflamed airways...

Inspiratory gasp continuous inspiratory whooping cough
Rales, crackles or crepitations
Crackles, crepitations, or rales are the clicking, rattling, or crackling noises that may be made by one or both lungs of a human with a respiratory disease during inhalation. They are often heard only with a stethoscope...

discontinuous inspiratory pneumonia, congestive heart failure
Hamman's sign
Hamman's sign
Hamman's sign is a crunching, rasping sound, synchronous with the heartbeat, heard over the precordium in spontaneous mediastinal emphysema produced by the heart beating against air-filled tissues....

 (or Mediastinal crunch)
discontinuous neither (heartbeat) pneumomediastinum
Pneumomediastinum is a condition in which air is present in the mediastinum...

, pneumopericardium
Pneumopericardium is a medical condition where air enters the pericardial cavity.It can be congenital, or introduced by a wound.-External links:*

External links

  • R.A.L.E. Repository - sound files of breath sounds
  • MEDiscuss - Respiratory auscultation with audio examples
  • Lehrer, Steven. Understanding Lung Sounds
    Understanding Lung Sounds
    Understanding Lung Sounds 3rd edition by Steven Lehrer is a book and audio CD that guides the student through the skills of lung auscultation. It provides a complete overview of lung examination, anatomy, physiology, and pathology. The audio CD presents and explains normal and abnormal lung...

    . Elsevier 2002.
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