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Crackles - Early Inspiratory (Rales) Reference Guide

Crackles - Early Inspiratory (Rales)

Early inspiratory crackles (rales), as suggested by the title, begin and end during the early part of inspiration. The pitch is lower than late inspiratory crackles. A patient's cough may decrease or clear these lung sounds. Early inspiratory crackles suggest decreased FEV1 capacity and are characteristic of COPD.

Patient Recording

patient heart or lung sound
Crackles - Early Inspiratory (Rales)

Patient Recording - Half Speed Playback

patient heart or lung sound
Crackles - Early Inspiratory (Rales)


Patient position
The patient's position should be sitting.

Listening Tips

Features:Occur early in inspiration. Can be lower-pitched than late inspiratory crackles. Coughing may decrease or clear these crackles

Waveform (Phonocardiogram)

Crackles - Early Inspiratory (Rales) | Description, Audio and Animations | #148

Authors and Reviewers

Authored by Dr. Jonathan Keroes, MD and Diane Wrigley, PA.
Medically reviewed by Dr. Barbara Erickson, PhD, RN, CCRN.
Last Update: 12/06/2021



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