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April 7, 1956


JAMA. 1956;160(14):1258. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960490072024

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To the Editor:—  Although there are no pathognomonic physical signs of pulmonary cavitation, auscultation of the chest over a cavity is frequently rewarding. A unique sequence of sounds is superimposed on the vesicular or bronchovesicular inspiratory breath sounds. One rale, or a small group of medium or coarse rales, is heard, usually in the early part of the middle third of inspiration. Tubular or cavitary breath sounds begin with the rales. The pitch of the tubular breath sounds varies with the size of the cavity and the depth and speed of inspiration. These sounds are almost identical to the sounds produced by blowing up a balloon. The balloon is partially inflated, and the neck of the balloon is pinched between the fingers to prevent the escape of air. After the balloon is put to the lips the neck is released. There is sufficient moisture in the neck of the balloon

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