Name of Symptom/Sign:
Classifications and external resources
Rales, crackles or crepitations, are the clicking, rattling, or crackling noises heard on auscultation of (listening to) the lung with a stethoscope 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 word "rales" derives from the French word râle meaning "rattle".
Additional recommended knowledge
Rales can be heard in patients with pneumonia, atelectasis, pulmonary fibrosis, acute bronchitis, or bronchiectasis. Pulmonary edema secondary to left-sided congestive heart failure can also cause rales.
The sound of rales
Crackles (or rales) are caused by explosive opening of small airways. Cracklinuous sounds; they are intermittent, nonmusical and brief. Crackles are much more common during the inspiratory than the expiratory phase of breathing, but they may be heard during the expiratory phase. 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 Acute respiratory distress syndrome.
- Crackles are often described as fine, medium, and coarse. They can also be characterized as to their timing: fine crackles are usually late-inspiratory, whereas coarse crackles are early inspiratory.
- Fine crackles are soft, high-pitched, and very brief. This sound can be simulated by rolling a strand of hair between one's fingers near the ears, or by moistening one's thumb and index finger and separating them near the ears. Their presence usually indicates an interstitial process, such as pulmonary fibrosis or congestive heart failure.
- 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. Their presence usually indicates an airway disease, such as bronchiectasis.
- Pasterkamp H, Kraman SS, Wodicka GR (1997). "Respiratory sounds. Advances beyond the stethoscope". Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 156 (3 Pt 1): 974–87. PMID 9310022.
- Forgacs P (1978). "The functional basis of pulmonary sounds". Chest 73 (3): 399–405. PMID 630938.
- Forgacs, Paul (1978). Lung sounds. London: Tindall. ISBN 0-7020-0668-8.
|Symptoms and signs (R00-R69, 780-789)|
|Tachycardia - Bradycardia - Palpitation - Heart murmur - Epistaxis - Hemoptysis - Cough - abnormalities of breathing (Dyspnea, Orthopnoea, Stridor, Wheeze, Cheyne-Stokes respiration, Hyperventilation, Mouth breathing, Hiccup, Bradypnea, Hypoventilation) - Chest pain - Asphyxia - Pleurisy - Respiratory arrest - Sputum - Bruit/Carotid bruit - Rales|
|Digestive system and abdomen||Abdominal pain (Acute abdomen) - Nausea/Vomiting - Heartburn - Dysphagia - flatulence and related (Abdominal distension, Bloating, Burping, Tympanites) - Fecal incontinence (Encopresis) - hepatosplenomegaly (Hepatomegaly, Splenomegaly) - Jaundice - Ascites - Fecal occult blood - Halitosis|
|Skin and subcutaneous tissue||disturbances of skin sensation (Hypoesthesia, Paresthesia, Hyperesthesia) - Rash - Cyanosis - Pallor - Flushing - Petechia - Desquamation - Induration - Diaphoresis|
|abnormal involuntary movements (Tremor, Spasm, Fasciculation, Athetosis) - Gait abnormality - lack of coordination (Ataxia, Dysmetria, Dysdiadochokinesia, Hypotonia) - Tetany - Meningism - Hyperreflexia|
|Urinary system||Renal colic - Dysuria - Vesical tenesmus - Urinary incontinence - Urinary retention - Oliguria - Polyuria - Nocturia - Extravasation of urine - Extrarenal uremia|
emotional state and behaviour
|Anxiety - Somnolence - Coma - Amnesia (Anterograde amnesia, Retrograde amnesia) - Dizziness/Vertigo - smell and taste (Anosmia, Ageusia, Parosmia, Parageusia)|
|Speech and voice||speech disturbances (Dysphasia, Aphasia, Dysarthria) - symbolic dysfunctions (Dyslexia, Alexia, Agnosia, Apraxia, Acalculia, Agraphia) - voice disturbances (Dysphonia, Aphonia)|
|General symptoms and signs||Fever (Hyperpyrexia) - Headache - Chronic pain - Malaise/Fatigue (Asthenia, Debility) - Fainting (Vasovagal syncope) - Febrile seizure - Shock (Cardiogenic shock) - Lymphadenopathy - Edema (Peripheral edema, Anasarca) - Hyperhidrosis (Sleep hyperhidrosis) - Delayed milestone - Failure to thrive - Short stature (Idiopathic) - food and fluid intake (Anorexia, Polydipsia, Polyphagia) - Cachexia - Xerostomia - Clubbing|