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During labored breathing, a characteristic sound created by rhythmic closure of the glottis; usually observed in newborns with respiratory distress syndrome.


(grŭnt) [ME. grunten]
An abnormal sound heard during labored exhalation that indicates a need for high chest pressures to keep the airways open. It is caused by closing of the glottis at the end of expiration.

Patient care

A grunting patient is laboring to breathe and may soon suffer respiratory failure without intervention to improve respiratory status.


quick, sharp sound created by a forced expiration against a closed glottis; elicited by sharp pain. See also grunting.

abdominal palpation g's, grunt expiratory
a grunt occurs with each expiration.
percussion grunt
grunt with each percussion over the sensitive area.
walking grunt
a grunt with each step while walking.

Patient discussion about grunt

Q. My baby is grunting and groaning while I breastfeed him. Is this normal? It only happens from time to time, but he makes these weird noises while nursing and I would like to know if it's standard behavior.

A. Does it sound like he is having trouble breathing while you breastfeed him? Does he make these sounds while crying also, or just while eating? All of these are things you should report to your pediatrician so you can be sure that the baby is not suffering from anything other than simple reflux while being breastfed.

More discussions about grunt
References in periodicals archive ?
The steering, gruntingly heavy at very low speeds, lightens up to deliver clear, crisp messages about what the front wheels are doing.