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Adventitious Sounds

A breath sound that is not normally heard, such as a crackle, gurgle, rhonchus, or wheeze. It may be superimposed on normal breath sounds.

Alveolus, Alveoli

A small outpouching along the walls of the alveolar sacs through which gas exchange between alveolar air and pulmonary capillary blood takes place.

Angle of Luis

An anatomical landmark located on the sternum; it can be felt as a notch or ridge at the top of the sternum.

Anterior Axillary Line

An imaginary vertical line on the body wall continuing the line of the anterior axillary fold with the upper arm.


The top, the end, the summit, or the extremity of a structure.


An absence of spontaneous respiration.

Barrel Chest

A large, rounded thorax.

Base of Lungs

The base of the lung is broad and concave, rests on the convex surface of the diaphragm.

Biot's Respiration

An abnormal respiratory pattern, characterized by short episodes of rapid, uniformly deep inspirations followed by 10 to 30 seconds of apnea.


An abnormally low rate of breathing (lower than 12 breaths/min).

Bronchial Breath Sound

A normal sound heard with a stethoscope over the main airways of the lungs, especially the trachea. Expiration and inspiration produce noise of equal loudness and duration, sounding like blowing through a hollow tube. The expiratory sound is heard during the greater part of expiration, whereas the inspiratory sound stops abruptly at the height of inspiration, with a pause before the sound of expiration is heard.

Bronchovesicular Sounds

One of three normal breath sounds that occur between the sounds of the bronchial tubes and those of the alveoli, or a combination of the two sounds.

Cheyne-Stokes Respiration

An abnormal pattern of respiration, characterized by alternating periods of apnea and deep, rapid breathing.


Of or relating to a rib and the vertebral column.

Costal Margin

The lower edge of the chest (thorax), formed by the bottom edge of the rib cage.


A sudden audible expulsion of air from the lungs.


A small, sharp sound heard on auscultation.


A form of breathing difficulty caused by an obstruction in the larynx, trachea, or bronchi. The patient attempts to compensate for this deficiency with prolonged, deep inspirations.


Normal, quiet breathing at a rate of 12 to 20 breaths per minute in adults.


Coughing up of blood from the respiratory tract. Blood-streaked sputum often is present in minor upper respiratory infections or bronchitis.


Inadequate oxygen tension at the cellular level, characterized by tachycardia, hypertension, peripheral vasoconstriction, dizziness, and mental confusion.

Intercostal Space

The region between the ribs.

Kussmaul's Respiration

Air hunger; deep rapid breathing as seen in respiratory acidosis.

Midaxillary Line

An imaginary vertical line that passes midway between the anterior and posterior axillary folds.

Midclavicular Line

(In anatomy) an imaginary line that extends downward over the trunk from the midpoint of the clavicle, dividing each side of the anterior chest into two parts.


An abnormal condition in which a person must sit or stand to breathe deeply or comfortably.

Pectus Carinatum

A congenital structural defect characterized by a prominent anterior projection of the xiphoid and the lower part of the sternum and by a lengthening of the costal cartilages.

Pectus Excavatum

A skeletal abnormality of the chest characterized by a depressed sternum.

Pleural Friction Rub

An abnormal coarse, grating sound heard on auscultation of the lungs during late inspiration and early expiration. It occurs when the visceral and parietal pleural surfaces rub against each other.

Posterior Axillary Line

Runs from the posterior axillary fold down the posterolateral aspect of the chest wall


Loud rumbling sounds heard on auscultation of bronchi obstructed by sputum


Material coughed up from the lungs and expectorated through the mouth. It contains mucus, cellular debris, or microorganisms, and it also may contain blood or pus.


An abnormal high-pitched musical sound caused by an obstruction in the trachea or larynx. It is usually heard during inspiration.

Suprasternal Notch

The large notch in the manubrium of sternum.


An abnormally rapid rate of breathing (more than 20 breaths per minute in adults)

Thoracic Expansion

Place hands on lower posterior chest wall with thumbs toward spine. Assess expansion of chest as thumbs move. Movement should be symettric

Vesicular Breath Sounds

A normal sound of rustling or swishing heard with a stethoscope over the lung periphery. It characteristically has a higher pitch during inspiration and fades rapidly during expiration.


To breathe with difficulty, producing a hoarse whistling sound.

Xiphoid Process

The smallest of three parts of the sternum, articulating with the inferior end of the body of the sternum above and laterally with the seventh rib.

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