What is death rattle? Person usually lives 23 hours after it begins. [Representational Image]Creative Commons

Death is inevitable, but what happens before, during and after remains a mystery. It's difficult to know when a person will die. However, recently Dr Daniel Murrell, from the University of Alabama in the US said the change in breathing patterns and rattling sound is a part of the dying process.

The death rattle sound may vary – it may be a sound of very loud gurgling, snoring, soft moaning or crackling, wet noise increases as the person breathe, according to a Medical News Today report.

Cause of the death rattle

The rattle occurs because a person is no longer be able to swallow, cough, or clear saliva and mucus from the back of the throat. It may happen because the secretions in the respiratory tract may have increased. Normally, people do not face any trouble in clearing these secretions, but a person nearing death might not have the strength.

It might sound like the person is choking. However, there is no evidence suggesting that the dying person is aware of the sound.

How to manage it?

If a nurse or medical professional is around, they may try to ease the sound, as it can be upsetting for the person's loved ones. To do so, they may raise the head of the person so that the secretions can drain, turn the person on their side, use suction to drain the secretions from the mouth or limit fluid intake. The treatments are unlikely to prevent a death rattle.

Other symptoms

Other symptoms of a person near death include confusion, frequent yawning to draw more oxygen into the body, lung congestion, change in breathing pattern, dark bruising, agitation, sleepiness, mottled skin, and coming in and out of consciousness.