Wheezes are generated by air flowing through narrowed bronchus. The bronchial walls vibrate, creating wheezing sounds. Wheeze sounds are best transmitted via the airways rather than lung tissue (which absorb higher pitched sounds). Thus wheezes are bet heard (or auscultated) near the central airways.
Wheezes are commonly causes by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. But other conditions can cause wheezing:
Compare high pitched wheezing to rhonchi, a low pitched wheeze.
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Listen to this recording of a patient with a high pitched wheezes.
This patient's recording illustrates rhonchi. The sounds have a lower frequency and can seem similar to snoring.
A wheeze on exhale is more common than inspiratory wheezing. Listen to this expiratory wheeze audio recording.
A polyphonic wheeze will be heard as continuous, musical and often loud. These lung sounds can be auscultated over anterior, posterior and lateral chest walls. They are associated with severe asthma and COPD.
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