My uncle has severe Alzheimer's and has been in a rapid decline for quite a while. While listening to his chest the other day with just an ear against it, there was a very distinctive watery gushy sound, and at one point it actually sounded as if a bubble had literally burst. It was loud enough to make his wife back away from his chest. He isn't having any breathing problems and is in no pain. This sounded serious to me. Is this gushy sound related directly to his heart, or is it his lungs? I'd really like to be able to tell my aunt what a professional has to say about it. He is now at home waiting to pass away, per his request, and refuses any medical attention, so taking him to a doctor or hospital is out.
Thanks to whomever in advance for any information on this.
I'm sorry to hear about your uncle. It is very challenging to care for sick family members.
Since I don't know your uncle's history comprehensively, I can only offer general ideas about what might have caused what you heard. What you describe is unlikely to be directly related to your uncle's heart, per se. It sounds like he might have some congestion or fluid in the lungs or upper airways. Particularly in the very ill, fluid in the throat or upper airways can make a gurgling sound. Other possibilities include sounds from his gastrointestinal tract, which can sometimes be surprisingly loud! In some people, you can hear the fluid shifting in the bowels as the muscles there contract.
I wish you the best of luck with your uncle. Hospice or palliative care can help to make the end-of-life transition much easier.
I'm totally unqualified to give a medical opinion, but a personal opinion would be his lungs are filling with fluid. It could be a cardiac or kidney issue. Given his directives hopefully you can continue to keep him comfortable. Keep us informed.
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