Wheeze Lesson #647

patient thorax when auscultating by stethoscope

patient position during auscultation
The patient was seated during auscultation.


Air flowing through a narrowed bronchus produces wheezes. Accordingly, these sounds will have their highest sound intensity when auscultating over or near the central airways.

Wheezes are adventitious lung sounds associated with secretions, obstructions, tumors, or airway compression. They are continuous sounds with a musical quality. High-pitched wheezes have a squeaking quality, while low-pitched wheezes are similar to snoring or moaning. The proportion of the respiratory cycle occupied by the wheeze roughly corresponds to the degree of airway obstruction.

Wheezes are also classified by when they appear in the respiratory cycle, e.g. inspiratory wheezing or a late expiratory wheeze, and by additional information about the sound quality (monophonic or polyphonic). These characteristics can be found in our Intermediate Lung Sounds module.


Authors and Sources

Authors and Reviewers


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