HELP......I'm having a "dumb" moment!

  1. I feel like a total goof for having to ask this but tonight neither myself or another nurse could remember the proper term for "death rattles". It was a very high pressure night so maybe our brains were just over loaded as we had 4 dying residents and a death. I would appreciate an answer to this, dumb as it is?????:imbar
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  3. by   petiteflower
    I didn't know there was a proper term--we just call them death rattles---or do you mean cheyne stokes breathing--or agonal respirations??????
  4. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I was taught Cheynes-Stokes breathing. But then I rarely deal with dying folks in OB. NOT a DUMB question! Anyone got another answer?
  5. by   ageless
    Don't know of another term for "death rattle".
    How about Cheyne-Stokes respirations?
  6. by   indeed
    Cheyne-Stokes is just a respiratory pattern though...not a sound. I looked it up and in Mosby's it just describes what a death rattle sounds like and that it is most often hear with agonal respirations, but didn't give any other name for it. Hope you remember the word you were trying to think of though. I hate when that happens!!

  7. by   thisnurse
    where i work the technical name is "that goofy noise people make when they die"
  8. by   Zee_RN
    I'd go with agonal respirations. Which still isn't "a sound." Death rattle is. The term itself just sounds awful, though.
  9. by   ERNurse752
    What about rhonchi? When people have agonal respirations or Cheyne Stokes breathing, they're not able to clear their secretions adequately, and they can collect in the lungs and upper airway.
  10. by   fedupnurse
    I only know it as Death Rattle. Just like Death Dump. There is no other way to describe what has been hanging out in someone's colon for the past 80 years other than death dump. Maybe the rattle happens after the dump cause there is now room????
    I wish you luck in your quest and if you find out a technical term for either please let us know!

  12. by   colleen10
    Have no idea what it is but I'm sure the right answer will come to you at about 4:15 AM in the middle of a sound sleep.
  13. by   RN-PA
    I just looked up "death rattle" in my Taber's Medical Dictionary and I was surprised to see it listed there between "death rate" and "death with dignity":

    "death rattle. A sound heard in the throat of the dying. Caused by the accumulation of mucus in the throat due to absence of cough reflex. The breath moving through the mucus makes the 'rattle' sound."
  14. by   nursemicke
    If you are not comfortable with the term death rattle then just describe what you see and hear. Difficulty breathing, with periods of apnea lasting 10-60 seconds, noise or rhonci on inspiration or expiration R/T mucus. And of course vitals as they change when a patient is dying, ie low bp. Family and MD notified. Comfort measures provided.
    Last edit by nursemicke on May 28, '02