Fast Five Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Holiday-related Dangers?

Richard H. Sinert, DO


December 07, 2015

Major findings include new abnormal airway sounds, such as wheezing, stridor, or decreased breath sounds. These sounds are often, but not always, unilateral.

Sounds are inspiratory if the material is in the extrathoracic trachea. If the lesion is in the intrathoracic trachea, noises are symmetrical but sound more prominent in the central airways. These sounds are a coarse wheeze (sometimes referred to as "expiratory stridor") heard with the same intensity all over the chest.

Once the foreign body passes the carina, the breath sounds are usually asymmetrical. However, remember that the young chest transmits sounds very well, and the stethoscope head is often bigger than the lobes. A lack of asymmetry should not dissuade the observer from considering the diagnosis.

For more on the physical examination of a suspected foreign body in the airway, read here.


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