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Encyclopedia > Rales
Name of Symptom/Sign:
Rales
ICD-10 R09.8
ICD-9 786.7

Rales,crackles or crepitation, are the clicking, rattling, or crackling noises heard on auscultation of the lungs with a stethescope during inhalation. The sounds are caused by the "popping open" of small airways and alveoli collapsed by fluid, exudate, or lack of aeration during expiration. The term symptom (from the Greek syn = con/plus and pipto = fall, together meaning co-exist) has two similar meanings in the context of physical and mental health: Strictly, a symptom is a sensation or change in health function experienced by a patient. ... In medicine, a sign is a feature of disease as detected by the doctor during physical examination of a patient. ... The following codes are used with International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. ... The following is a list of codes for International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. ... The heart and lungs (from an older edition of Grays Anatomy) The lung is an organ belonging to the respiratory system and interfacing to the circulatory system of air-breathing vertebrates. ... Stethoscope The stethoscope (Greek στηθοσκόπιο, of στήθος, stéthos - chest and σκοπή, skopé - examination) is an acoustic medical device for auscultation, i. ... The alveoli (singular:alveolus), tiny hollow sacs which are continuous with the airways, are the sites of gas exchange with the blood. ...


Rales can be heard in patients with pneumonia, atelectasis, acute bronchitis, and severe bronchitis. Pulmonary edema secondary to left-sided congestive heart failure can also cause rales. Pneumonia is an illness of the lungs and respiratory system in which the microscopic, alveoli (air-filled sacs) responsible for absorbing oxygen from the atmosphere become inflamed and flooded with fluid. ... Atelectasis is defined as collapse of a part of the lung or the whole lung, where the alveoli are deflated, as distinct from pulmonary consolidation. ... Bronchitis is an obstructive pulmonary disease characterized by inflammation of the bronchi of the lungs. ... Pulmonary edema is swelling and/or fluid accumulation in the lungs. ... Congestive heart failure (CHF), also called congestive cardiac failure (CCF) or just heart failure, is a condition that can result from any structural or functional cardiac disorder that impairs the ability of the heart to fill with or pump a sufficient amount of blood throughout the body. ...


The sound of rales

Crackles (or rales) are caused by fluid in the small airways or atelectasis. Crackles are referred to as discontinuous sounds; they are intermittent, nonmusical and brief. Crackles may be heard on inspiration or expiration. The popping sounds produced are created when air is forced through respiratory passages that are narrowed by fluid, mucus, or pus. Crackles are often associated with inflammation or infection of the small bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli. Crackles that don't clear after a cough may indicate pulmonary edema or fluid in the alveoli due to heart failure or adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

  • Crackles are often described as fine, medium, and coarse.
  • Fine crackles are soft, high-pitched, and very brief. You can simulate this sound by rolling a strand of hair between your fingers near your ear, or by moistening your thumb and index finger and separating them near your ear.
  • Coarse crackles are somewhat louder, lower in pitch, and last longer than fine crackles. They have been described as sounding like opening a Velcro fastener.

Velcro is a brand name of fabric hook-and-loop fasteners used for connecting objects. ...

See also

A wheeze is a continuous, coarse, whistling sound produced in the respiratory airways during breathing. ... SignSymptom infobox | Name = Ronchi | ICD10 = R09. ...

External links


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