Crepitus: The grating sound heard, and the sensation felt when two rough surfaces rub together. Crepitus may be experienced when the ends of a broken bone rub against each other, or in osteoarthritis when the cartilage that covers the bony surfaces of a joint has worn and the roughened areas of the joint grind against each other.The sound is usually loud enough to be heard by the naked ear. Fainter sounds, audible through a stethoscope, are produced in the lung as a result of inflammation-due to pneumonia, for example.

The term "crepitus" is also used to describe the sounds made when an area of air under the skin (see Emphysema, surgical) or gas gangrene (gas infected tissue) is pressed.

Bibliography: I. Medicine, Popular-Dictionaries. I.morgan, Peter, 1927- .II. Canadian Medical Association.III. Reader's Digest Association(Canada). IV. Title: Home medical encyclopedia.

Most EMT's are taught to check for crepitus during their secondary assessment (after checking more important stuff, like vital signs), especially in the pelvis. This occurs occasionally during trauma cases, though some EMTs will check for geriatric patients.

When the patient is supine, this is done by taking both hands (with gloves) and pressing downwards and forward towards the head. If there is a rice krispies sound, then You've got crepitus! The sound of the bones grinding against each other.

There is not much an EMT can do for it, other than not move the hips, and report it when you get to the hospital. If you're really on the ball you'll report it en route to the hospital and have an orthopedist standing by.

Crep"i*tus (kr?p"?-t?s), n. [L., fr. crepare to crack.] Med. (a)

The noise produced bu a sudden discharge of wind from the bowels.


Same as Crepitation, 2.


© Webster 1913.

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