Respiratory noises: how useful are they clinically?

Pediatr Clin North Am. 2009 Feb;56(1):1-17, ix. doi: 10.1016/j.pcl.2008.10.003.


Although clinicians place considerable weight on the identification of the various forms of noisy breathing, there are serious questions regarding both the accuracy (validity) and the reliability (repeatability) of these noises. To avoid diagnostic errors, clinicians need to consider the whole constellation of symptoms and signs, and not focus on the specific "type" of noise. Given the high error rate with "parent-reported wheeze" there is a need to reexamine the extensive literature on the epidemiology of wheeze in infants and young children, because parent-reported wheeze is unconfirmed by a clinician. It is obvious we need more high-quality research evidence to derive better evidence on the clinical utility of these noises, and their natural history.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics
  • Airway Obstruction / complications
  • Airway Obstruction / diagnosis
  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Parents
  • Prognosis
  • Reproducibility of Results*
  • Respiratory Sounds / classification*
  • Respiratory Sounds / diagnosis
  • Respiratory Sounds / etiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / complications*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Video Recording