Link to article at PubMed

2020 Nov 21. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan–.


Wheezing is the symptomatic manifestation of any disease process that causes airway obstruction. Rene Laennec's development of the stethoscope in 1816 has enabled a better appreciation of wheeze at the bedside; in comparison to the previously established practice of ear-to-chest auscultation. Wheeze is a musical, high-pitched, adventitious sound generated anywhere from the larynx to the distal bronchioles during either expiration or inspiration. Modern-day, computerized, waveform analysis has allowed us to characterize wheeze with more precision and given us its definition as a sinusoidal waveform, typically between 100 Hz and 5000 Hz with a dominant frequency of at least 400 Hz, lasting at least 80 milliseconds. Wheeze may be audible without the aid of a stereoscope when the sound is loud, but in most cases, wheezes are auscultated with a stethoscope.

The presence of wheezing does not always mean that the patient has asthma, and a proper history and physical exam are required to make the diagnosis.

PMID:29494061 | Bookshelf:NBK482454

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