Tactile fremitus

vibration palpated with the hand on the chest during vocal fremitus.

Tactile fremitus is a physical examination technique used by healthcare professionals to assess the vibrations or tremors felt on the chest wall during breathing. It is used to evaluate the condition of the lungs and the airways, and can be an important tool in the diagnosis of respiratory conditions.

During the exam, the patient is instructed to place their hands on their chest, while the healthcare professional uses their hands or a specialized instrument to tap the patient’s chest at different locations. The healthcare professional then feels for the vibrations or tremors transmitted through the chest wall during breathing. These vibrations are caused by air movement through the airways and lungs and can be affected by various conditions, such as inflammation, fluid accumulation, or an obstruction.

If the tactile fremitus is increased, it may indicate a condition where the lung tissue is denser than usual, such as pneumonia, pulmonary fibrosis, or lung cancer. Conversely, if tactile fremitus is decreased or absent, it may indicate the presence of air or fluid accumulation in the pleural space surrounding the lungs, such as in the case of a pneumothorax or pleural effusion.

Tactile fremitus is just one component of a complete respiratory examination and should be interpreted in conjunction with other findings and tests. It is a relatively simple and non-invasive technique that can provide important diagnostic information to healthcare professionals.