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ICD-10 R09.8
ICD-9 786.7

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Rhonchi is the "coarse rattling sound somewhat like snoring, usually caused by secretion in bronchial airways". Rhonchi is the plural form of the singular word "rhonchus".


It is an abnormal or adventitious sound heard when listening to the chest as the person breathes. Wheezing noises are heard during inspiration, expiration or both. They are present when an airway is partially obstructed owing to secretions, mucosal swelling, or tumor tissue pressing on the passage. The sounds are gurgling noises heard on auscultation of the lungs with a stethoscope during inhalation or exhalation. The sounds are caused by the flow of air through thick mucous secretions in the larger air passages such as the bronchioles but can also be associated with smaller structures such as the alveoli.

Rhonchi can be heard in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and acute or severe bronchitis.

COPD is an all inclusive syndrome that stems from the reduction of surface area associated with emphysema and the production of mucous secretions, bronchospasm and inflammation associated with bronchitis.

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