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 CAROTID BRUIT

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.

 


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