Noisy breathing (sometimes known as respiratory secretions or ‘death rattle’) is common when someone is dying. It happens due to pooling of fluid when someone becomes weaker, loses consciousness and the ability to cough or swallow normally. This can result in gurgling and rattling noises. Even if the noise can sound strange to others, it is happening because the person is so deeply asleep and therefore rarely causes them distress.
Positioning the person on one side with their upper body elevated in the bed can help fluid drainage.
Medications may also be helpful to help reduce the amount of saliva produced. Your doctor or nurse will be able to advise about this.