What is pectoriloquy?

Pectoriloquy, also called whispered pectoriloquy, refers to the sound heard through a stethoscope when a doctor listens to a patient's lungs. The doctor usually asks the patient to repeat a word or numbers under his breath while the doctor places the stethoscope on various areas of the patient's back. If the doctor can clearly hear the whispers, the patient may have pneumonia or another condition that causes fluid to build up in the lungs. Pectoriloquy is just one of several audible sounds a doctor may hear during a pulmonary physical exam.

Normal lung function produces a muffled sound that is difficult to understand when a patient speaks or whispers while a doctor listens to the lungs. When pectoriloquy occurs, the whisper becomes clearly audible through the stethoscope. It usually means fluid in the lungs, which can be caused by pneumonia, pleurisy, or emphysema.

Other tests performed to measure lung function include listening to bronchophonia. The doctor usually asks the patient to repeat the numbers one, two and three while listening to the noise in the chest cavity. Normally, the doctor hears muffled or muffled sounds when the patient speaks. With the symptoms of bronchophonia, the noise is loudest where fluid has accumulated.

A similar test is called egophony. The doctor instructs the patient to make a continuous "E" sound while the doctor listens through the stethoscope. If the doctor hears a noise that resembles a long "A," it could also indicate excess fluid in or around the lungs.

Abnormal lung sounds may also appear as crackles, wheezes, or rhonchi. Crackles represent high-pitched tones heard intermittently. They are described as having a popping sound or tone similar to the crackling of wood over a hot fire. Wheezing can appear as a high-pitched or high-pitched noise where the airway is obstructed. A deep, gurgling noise when a patient breathes in and out may indicate rhonchi, which may disappear when the patient coughs.

Another test uses vibrations to indicate the presence of fluid inside or outside the lungs. In a process called tactile fremitus, the patient repeats a series of numbers or certain words while the doctor places his hand on the chest. If the doctor feels excessive reverberation, it could indicate fluid in the airways leading to the lungs. If the vibration is weak, the doctor can check for fluid outside the lung, which could indicate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

These tests represent a complete lung exam when a doctor suspects abnormal lung function. Most doctors rely on chest x-rays to diagnose pneumonia and other disorders related to fluid in the lungs. An x-ray gives the doctor more information about the extent of the fluid buildup and exactly where it occurs.

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