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Breath sounds

Bronchial breath sounds are loud, harsh breathing sounds with a midrange pitch (300 to 600hz). They are normal when occurring over the trachea during exhalation. These sounds, when emanating from another location, can be an indicator of a lung issue.  There are three types of abnormal bronchial breath sounds:

Tubular breath sounds are a high pitched  (600 to 1,200 Hz) bronchial breath sound. Some common conditions that produce these are:

  • Atelectasis: Partial or total collapse of a lung
  • Consolidation:  Air spaces within the lungs fill with liquid
  • Pleural effusion:  A buildup of fluid in the tissue  surrounding the lungs
  • Pulmonary fibrosis:  Damage and scarring of the lung tissue
  • Mediastinal tumor: A tumour in the area of the chest in between the lungs

Cavernous breath sounds are low pitched (100 to 300 Hz) bronchial breath sounds. Common conditions generating these are:

  • Lung damage from bronchiectasis
  • A lung abscess
  • Cancerous changes

Amphoric respiration is a type of abnormal bronchial breathing that creates a strong reverberating sound with high pitched overtones. it is an indication of a cavity, cyst, bleb, or other air-containing space in the lung communicating with the bronchial system

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