|Horror and Thriller Poetry posted September 5, 2014|
My more srious take on Rigor mortis, and death...
by Dean Kuch
A death rattle is a physiological phenomenon which occurs in someone who is near death. The death rattle often plays a role in fiction, with Victorian authors in particular being especially fond of describing this phenomenon in lurid detail. When a patient develops a death rattle, it usually means that he or she is within 24 hours of dying. However, certain medical conditions can cause similar symptoms, making proper diagnosis critical to ensure that there is not another underlying cause.
When the death rattle develops, a patient's breathing starts to sound gurgly, as though the patient is gargling, and the noise can resemble that of a rattling or fluttering. The condition is caused by the accumulation of saliva and mucus in the throat, through which air will be forced as the patient breathes. Although death rattle does not necessarily indicate that the patient is in discomfort, it can be disconcerting for the patient's family and loved ones.
The death rattle is caused because the patient's coughing and swallowing reflexes are impaired or absent. Normally, people swallow on a regular basis to drain oral secretions from their throats, and they can also cough to expel mucus. In someone who is dying, this may not be possible, and as a result, these fluids build up.
As always, thanks so much for reading.
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