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Crackles - Fine (Rales) Reference Guide

Crackles - Fine (Rales)

Fine crackles are brief, discontinuous, popping lung sounds that are high-pitched. Fine crackles are also similar to the sound of wood burning in a fireplace, or hook and loop fasteners being pulled apart or cellophane being crumpled. Crackles, previously termed rales, can be heard in both phases of respiration. Early inspiratory and expiratory crackles are the hallmark of chronic bronchitis. Late inspiratory crackles may mean pneumonia, CHF, or atelectasis.

Patient Recording

patient heart or lung sound
Crackles - Fine (Rales)

Patient Recording - Half Speed Playback

patient heart or lung sound
Crackles - Fine (Rales)


Patient position
The patient's position should be seated.

Listening Tips

Features:Rales are brief, discontinuous, popping sounds that are high-pitched. Similar to wood burning in a fireplace. More commonly heard during inspiration

Waveform (Phonocardiogram)

Crackles - Fine (Rales) | Description, Audio and Animations | #72

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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