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Classification according to ICD-10
R09.8 Other symptoms affecting the circulatory and respiratory systems

[Rattling noises]

ICD-10 online (WHO version 2019)

Rhonchus ( Greek  ὁ ῥόγχος ho rhonchos "snoring") is a rattle noise when breathing , which is mostly due to a narrowing of the airways or their mucus . The noises are further subdivided as a whistling rhonchus ( wheezing , wheezing) and full-sounding / humming rhonchus (humming).

  • Whistling / wheezing (. English wheeze ): The whistle is a high-frequency noise (> 400 Hz) that occurs as a severe narrowing of the airways by mucus or contraction of airways. Whistling occurs in everyday life when a gas is emptied with a squeaky sound from a reservoir with a narrow outlet. Wheezing is the orchestral sounding of breathing air, which escapes into the large airways, obstructed by narrowed smallest airways (bronchioles). Whistling and wheezing are often used synonymously . The sound of breathing is typical of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchial asthma .
  • Humming ( rhonchi ) is a low-frequency noise (<200 Hz) that is caused by irregular, changing coatings and floating mucus threads in the large airways. If you blow between two sheets of paper that are held together, a humming sound is produced, which stops when the airflow stops.

Historically, the rattling noises were divided into the dry types (rhonchi sicci) purring (rhonchus sonorus), whistling (rhonchus sibilans) and wheezing, as well as the wet types (rhonchi humidi), slime rattles (rhonchus mucosus), moderately moist rattling and crackling rattles.


As death rattle (also Präfinales rattling or death rattles ) are called near death breath sounds, which are also caused by not abgehusteten mucus.


  • American Thoracic Society Ad Hoc Committee on Pulmonary Nomenclature: Updated nomenclature for membership reaction. In: ATS News , Issue 3, 1977. pp. 5-6
  • Steven McGee: Evidence-Based Physical Diagnosis. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2012. ISBN 9781455723119 . P. 259ff.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hermann Vierordt: A brief outline of the percussion and auscultation. Verlag Franz Pietzcker, Tübingen 1904. S. 32f.