A type of abnormal lung sound heard through a stethoscope. Rales may be sibilant (whistling), dry (crackling) or wet (more sloshy) depending on the amount and density of fluid refluxing back and forth in the air passages. The word rale is a straight steal from the French rale (minus the circumflex accent over the a). In French, a rale was originally restricted to the death rattle (le rale de mort). After Laennec invented the stethoscope in France in 1815, he borrowed the word rale to apply it to the less ominous, albeit still abnormal, lung sounds he heard through his newfangled instrument.
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Ambiguous term for an added sound heard on auscultation of breath sounds; used by some to denote rhonchus and by others for crepitation. SYN: crackle. [Fr. rattle]
- amphoric r. sound heard through the stethoscope associated with the movement of fluid in a lung cavity communicating with a bronchus.
- atelectatic r. transitory light crackling sound that disappears after deep breathing or coughing.
- bubbling r. moist sound heard through the stethoscope as a result of air entering portions of lung tissue containing exudate and thus creating bubbles; sometimes associated with resolving pneumonia or small lung cavities.
- cavernous r. a resonating, bubbling sound caused by air entering a cavity partly filled with fluid. SYN: cavernous rhonchus.
- clicking r. short, sticking sound usually associated with opening of small bronchi on deep breathing, sometimes heard in early pulmonary tuberculosis.
- consonating r. a resonant r. produced in a bronchial tube and heard through consolidated lung tissue.
- crackling r. (krak′ling) very fine sounds produced by fluid in very small airways in pneumonia or congestive heart failure.
- crepitant r. a fine bubbling or crackling sound produced by air mixing with very thin secretions in the smaller bronchial tubes. SYN: vesicular r..
- dry r. a harsh or musical breath sound produced by a constriction in a bronchial tube or the presence of a viscid secretion narrowing the lumen.
- gurgling r. coarse sound heard over large cavities or over trachea nearly filled with secretions.
- guttural r. sound heard over the lung but resulting from upper airway obstruction.
- metallic r. a r. of metallic quality caused by resonance in a large cavity.
- moist r. a bubbling r. caused by air mixing with a fluid exudate in the bronchial tubes or a cavity.
- mucous r. a bubbling r. heard on auscultation over bronchial tubes containing mucus.
- palpable r. a vibration that can be felt accompanying a low-pitched, hard, musical, or sonorous r..
- pleural r. SYN: pleural rub.
- sibilant r. a whistling sound caused by air moving through a viscid secretion narrowing the lumen of a bronchus. SYN: whistling r..
- Skoda r. a r. in a bronchus heard through an area of consolidated tissue in pneumonia.
- sonorous r. a cooing or snoring sound often produced by the vibration of a projecting mass of viscid secretion in a large bronchus.
- subcrepitant r. a very fine crepitant r..
- vesicular r. SYN: crepitant r..
- whistling r. SYN: sibilant r..

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rale 'ral, 'räl n an abnormal sound heard accompanying the normal respiratory sounds on auscultation of the chest compare RATTLE (2), RHONCHUS

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(rahl) a discontinuous sound (q.v.) consisting of a series of short nonmusical noises, heard primarily during inhalation; called also crackle.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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