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AnnlynnRN, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 583
Experience:  RN - 16 years in ICU & Critical Care (Cardiac, Neurology, Trauma, & Medical/Surgical ICU.)
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what is the medical term for someone s last breath or ...

Customer Question

what is the medical term for someone's last breath or breathing just prior to them dying?

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Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  AnnlynnRN replied 10 years ago.

The term you are referring to is called "agonal" breathing.

Some often refer to such breathing as the "death rattle." The "death rattle" is a wet rattling sound that is often heard due to the weak breathing before dying. It is heard because of the dying person's inability to "cough-up" or "clear" the secretions in their airway.

"Agonal" breathing is a type of gasping for air. The mouth is usually partially, if not wide open. Such breathing usually indicates imminent death.

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