death rattle(redirected from death rattles)
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A gurgling or rattling sound sometimes made in the throat of a dying person, caused by loss of the cough reflex and passage of the breath through accumulating mucus.
death rattleA sound characteristic of end-stage lung disease–eg, terminal lung CA or pulmonary edema, that occurs when the clearance of large airway secretions becomes nearly impossible; as air moves to and fro in the bronchi, the sound acquires a gurgling or rattling quality, often presaging death. Cf Medicine rattle.
death rat·tle(deth rat'ĕl)
A respiratory noise from the pharynx or trachea of a dying person, caused by the loss of the cough reflex and accumulation of mucus.