ANCHOR LEAD: SIMPLY LISTENING TO THE NECK ARTERIES MAY PREDICT HEART DISEASE, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Your doctor should use a stethoscope to listen not only to your heart, but also your neck. That’s because a noise called a carotid bruit may be audible, and such a noise predicts blockage in the neck arteries, called the carotids, and also predicts heart disease, a new study in the Lancet concludes. Rick Lange, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, comments.
LANGE: This noise could also be described as a murmur or a swishing sound. The medical term is a carotid bruit, the carotid being the artery, and bruit being the swishing sound that it makes, and that usually denotes a blockage in the artery. Where there’s a blockage in the artery there’s some turbulence of blood as it goes through and you can hear a murmur. Now we know when it’s a significant blockage its associated with a significant risk of stroke, but what this study in the Lancet shows is that when patients have carotid bruits they’re twice as likely to have cardiac disease as well. :29
Treatment may include cholesterol lowering therapy, diet and lifestyle modifications, or perhaps medication or surgery. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.