Lung sounds refer to the sounds produced by the movement of air and fluid within the lungs. They can be heard using a stethoscope and can provide important information about a person’s lung function.
Normal lung sounds are typically described as soft, low-pitched, and rhythmic. They are often referred to as “vesicular sounds” and are heard in most healthy individuals.
Abnormal lung sounds, on the other hand, can indicate a variety of conditions such as pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis, or fluid accumulation in the lungs (pulmonary edema). Some common abnormal lung sounds include:
- Crackles (or rales): a high-pitched, popping sound that occurs when air passages are partially blocked by fluid or mucus.
- Wheezes: a high-pitched, whistling sound that occurs when airways are narrowed and airflow is obstructed.
- Stridor: a harsh, high-pitched sound that occurs when there is a partial blockage in the upper airway, such as the larynx or trachea.
- Rhonchi: a low-pitched, snoring-like sound that occurs when air flows through partially obstructed airways.
It’s important to note that lung sounds can be influenced by a variety of factors, including body position, breathing rate, and underlying medical conditions. As such, they should be interpreted in conjunction with other clinical findings and diagnostic tests.