Pleural Rubs

Virtual Auscultation

patient torso with stethoscope chestpiece
patient position during auscultation

The patient's position should be seated.


Pleural rubs are creaking or grating sounds. The sound is similar to leather against leather or walking on fresh snow on a cold day. Coughing will not alter the sound.

Pleural rubs can be generated when two inflamed surfaces are sliding by one another, such as in pleurisy. During auscultation, pleural rubs can be localized to a specific point on the chest wall. These sounds occur with movement of the patient's chest and will stop when the patient holds her breath. They appear on inspiration and expiration. Should the sound continue when the patient holds her breath, it may be a pericardial friction rub.


Authors and Reviewers

Authored by Dr. Jonathan Keroes, MD and David Lieberman, Developer, Virtual Cardiac Patient. Medically reviewed by Dr. Barbara Erickson, PhD, RN, CCRN. Last Update: 11/28/2021

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