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Carotid bruit

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Title: Carotid bruit  
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Subject: HEENT examination, Review of systems, Levine scale, Heart click, Continuous murmurs
Collection: Vascular Diseases
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Carotid bruit

Carotid bruit
Carotid bruit in a gentleman with a 70% stenosis of his left carotid artery.
ICD-10 R01.1
ICD-9 785.9
DiseasesDB 29151

A carotid bruit is a systolic sound heard over the carotid artery area during auscultation.

Associated conditions

It may occur as the result of carotid artery stenosis[1] (though some disagree);[2] however, most carotid bruits, particularly those found in younger or asymptomatic patients, are not related to any disease and are termed "innocent carotid bruits".[3] A carotid bruit is unlikely to be heard if the stenosis occludes less than 40% of the diameter of the artery. Likewise, a stenosis of greater than 90% may not be heard, as the flow may be too low.

Many carotid bruits are discovered incidentally in an otherwise asymptomatic patient. The presence of a carotid bruit alone does not necessarily indicate the presence of stenosis, and the physical examination cannot be used to estimate the degree of stenosis, if present; therefore, any bruit must be evaluated by ultrasound or imaging.[4]

Pronunciation and terminology

Bruit is traditionally pronounced broot, rhyming with boot, although the etymologically accurate pronunciation bru´e or bru-e´ is common in North American medical parlance.[5] In addition, while bruit and murmur are technically synonymous, the term bruit is generally reserved for arterial sounds in North America.[4]


  1. ^ MATTHEWS WB (May 1961). "OBSERVATIONS ON THE CAROTID BRUIT". J. Neurol. Neurosurg. Psychiatr. 24 (2): 161–6.  
  2. ^ Mayock R (September 2007). "Does a carotid bruit predict cerebrovascular complications following noncardiac surgery in asymptomatic patients?". Cleve Clin J Med. 74 Suppl 1: S18–9.  
  3. ^ Bates' Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking, 9th Ed, Chapter 20
  4. ^ a b DeGowin's Diagnostic Examination, 9th Edition, Chapter 8; Richard F. LeBlond, Donald D. Brown, Richard L. DeGowin
  5. ^ Stedman's Medical Dictionary - 28th Ed.

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