Rales are abnormal lung sounds that are rattling sounds or like a Velcro fastener being opened. They can sound like crinkled paper or salt in a hot frying pan. Rales are caused by the opening of small airways and alveoli.
Crackles and rales mean the same thing. Rales is derived from the French word for 'rattle'.
Use our auscultation guide to review real patient recordings of provides quick access to several types of rales lung sounds. The reference guide pages also have a waveform of each patient recording as well as auscultation listening suggestions.
Our basic and intermediate lung sounds courses provide lessons on rales. As a starting point, use the basics course. The intermediate course provides additional information regarding early and late inspiratory rales (crackles).
This website is intended for use by medical professionals for educational purposes only. For medical care, contact a healthcare provider.
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