Carotid Bruit Course Overview
This course extends auscultation skills with carotid artery disease cases.
A bruit (pronounced 'broo-ee') is a vascular, whooshing sound, caused by turbulent blood flow in an artery which supplies blood to the brain. Increased stenosis of a carotid artery results in increased duration, intensity, and pitch of the bruit.
Carotid bruit sounds and a basal heart murmur are easily confused. Because the sounds radiate throughout the body, a heart murmur will be heard, with reduced intensity, at the auscultation points above the clavicle and a carotid bruit will be heard (again with reduced intensity) at the auscultation points below the clavicle. If the intensity of sound is greater above the clavicle, it is most likely a carotid bruit. If it is louder below the clavicle, it is most likely a heart murmur.
Use either the bell or the diaphragm when listening for the carotid bruit, at a point just lateral to the Adam's apple. Listen for the murmur of aortic stenosis at the second right intercostal space (2RICS).
An early systolic bruit is associated with a 50% decrease in carotid artery luminal diameter. A pansystolic bruit is associated with a 60% reduction in luminal diameter. A pansystolic bruit that extends into early diastole is associated with a decrease in luminal diameter of 70% to 80%.
For more information, visit Alan Lucerne and James Espinosa's article about carotid bruit found in the National Library of Medicine.
The patient cases provide a content for practicing carotid artery exams. Each case consists of multiple pages which summarize patient history, heart and carotid bruit sounds, lab results and diagnosis.
After completing a lesson, use the lesson table of contents to navigate to another lesson.
When all lessons have been completed, we recommend using the auscultation practice exercises or quiz. In order to gain a certificate of achievement, please complete the course lessons and practice drill during one session. Most users complete the course in 30-45 minutes.
Registered users can earn a certificate of achievement for this module by reading all content and then earning a passing score on this module's quiz.
Completed modules and related scores can be viewed on the dashboard.
Heart Sounds and Murmurs Across the Lifespan (with CD)
Dr Barbara Ann Erickson
ISBN-10: 0323020453; ISBN-13: 978-0323020459
Heart Sounds and Murmurs: A Practical Guide with Audio CD-ROM 3rd Edition
Elsevier-Health Sciences Division
Barbara A. Erickson, PhD, RN, CCRN
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Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER)
- Manual Blood Pressure Measurement
Vital Sign Measurement Across the Lifespan