Heart attack risk can be heard by listening for a certain noise in the artery supplying blood to the brain, US researchers have said. People with the sound, called a bruit, from the carotid artery in the neck were twice as likely to suffer an attack and more than two-and-a-half times as likely to die from heart disease, than those without it, the researchers reported in the Lancet.
A carotid bruit is heard when using a stethoscope to listen to blood flow in the artery, which brings blood to the head and neck. The presence of the sound indicates that there's a fatty build-up called atherosclerosis, which may explain the increased risk, the scientists said.
"Our study has shown that the presence of a carotid bruit increased the likelihood of cardiovascular death or
heart attack," said Christopher Pickett from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC. A carotid bruit is different from a heart murmur, which is a whooshing or swishing sound heard during a heartbeat.