"Velcro-type" crackles predict specific radiologic features of fibrotic interstitial lung disease

Giacomo Sgalla, Simon L.F. Walsh, Nicola Sverzellati, Sophie Fletcher, Stefania Cerri, Borislav Dimitrov, Dragana Nikolic, Anna Barney, Fabrizio Pancaldi, Luca Larcher, Fabrizio Luppi, Mark G. Jones, Donna Davies, Luca Richeldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: "Velcro-type" crackles on chest auscultation are considered a typical acoustic finding of Fibrotic Interstitial Lung Disease (FILD), however whether they may have a role in the early detection of these disorders has been unknown. This study investigated how "Velcro-type" crackles correlate with the presence of distinct patterns of FILD and individual radiologic features of pulmonary fibrosis on High Resolution Computed Tomography (HRCT). Methods: Lung sounds were digitally recorded from subjects immediately prior to undergoing clinically indicated chest HRCT. Audio files were independently assessed by two chest physicians and both full volume and single HRCT sections corresponding to the recording sites were extracted. The relationships between audible "Velcro-type" crackles and radiologic HRCT patterns and individual features of pulmonary fibrosis were investigated using multivariate regression models. Results: 148 subjects were enrolled: bilateral "Velcro-type" crackles predicted the presence of FILD at HRCT (OR 13.46, 95% CI 5.85-30.96, p < 0.001) and most strongly the Usual Interstitial Pneumonia (UIP) pattern (OR 19.8, 95% CI 5.28-74.25, p < 0.001). Extent of isolated reticulation (OR 2.04, 95% CI 1.62-2.57, p < 0.001), honeycombing (OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.24-2.83, < 0.01), ground glass opacities (OR 1.74, 95% CI 1.29-2.32, p < 0.001) and traction bronchiectasis (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.03-2.32, p < 0.05) were all independently associated with the presence of "Velcro-type" crackles. Conclusions: "Velcro-type" crackles predict the presence of FILD and directly correlate with the extent of distinct radiologic features of pulmonary fibrosis. Such evidence provides grounds for further investigation of lung sounds as an early identification tool in FILD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103
JournalBMC Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 18 2018


  • Breath sounds
  • Fibrotic interstitial lung disease
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
  • Lung sounds
  • Velcro crackles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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