Crackles in patients with fibrosing alveolitis, bronchiectasis, COPD, and heart failure

Chest. 1991 May;99(5):1076-83. doi: 10.1378/chest.99.5.1076.


We have studied the crackling lung sounds of ten patients with cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis, ten with bronchiectasis, ten with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and ten with heart failure by analyzing frequency, waveform, and timing of crackles. The upper frequency limit of inspiratory sounds was higher in CFA than in COPD or in HF. The period of crackling was shorter in COPD than in CFA or BE. Inspiratory crackling terminated significantly earlier in COPD than in CFA, BE, or HF. The initial deflection width and the two-cycle duration of the expanded waveforms of crackles were smaller in CFA than in BE, COPD, or HF. The largest deflection width was smaller in CFA than in BE, HF, or COPD and smaller in BE than in HF. The results indicate that crackling lung sounds in different diseases have distinctive features and that their analysis can be of diagnostic value.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bronchiectasis / complications*
  • Bronchiectasis / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / complications*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / complications*
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / complications*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / physiopathology
  • Respiratory Sounds / etiology*
  • Respiratory Sounds / physiopathology
  • Sound Spectrography