Whispered Pectoriloquy – Physical Exam

Whispered pectoriloquy refers to an increased loudness of whispering noted during auscultation with a stethoscope on the lung fields on a patient’s torso.

Usually spoken sounds of a whispered volume by the patient would not be heard by the clinician auscultating a lung field with a stethoscope. However, in areas of the lung where there is lung consolidation, these whispered spoken sounds by the patient (such as saying ‘ninety-nine’) will be clearly heard through the stethoscope. This increase in sound exists because sound travels faster and thus with lower loss of intensity through liquid or solid (“fluid mass” or “solid mass,” respectively, in the lung) versus gaseous (air in the lung) media. Whispered pectoriloquy is a clinical test typically performed during a medical physical examination to evaluate for the presence of lung consolidation, which could be caused by cancer (solid mass) or pneumonia (fluid mass).

 

 

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