How would a nurse describe a bruit?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

A nurse would describe a bruit as an abnormal sound heard during auscultation, or listening with a stethoscope, over a blood vessel. It is often described as a “whooshing” or “rushing” sound. The presence of a bruit suggests that there may be a narrowing or blockage in the blood vessel, leading to disrupted or turbulent blood flow.

When assessing a patient, a nurse would first select the diaphragm of the stethoscope to better hear the higher frequency sounds associated with arterial bruits. The nurse would place the stethoscope directly over the area where the bruit is suspected, such as the carotid artery in the neck or the femoral artery in the groin.

During the auscultation, the nurse would listen carefully for the presence of any abnormal sounds. If a bruit is present, the nurse would note its location, intensity, and timing in the patient’s medical record. The nurse may also compare the sound to the patient’s baseline or previous assessments to determine if there have been any changes.

It is important for the nurse to consider the potential underlying causes of the bruit. Stenosis, which refers to the narrowing of a blood vessel, is a common cause of bruits. This can occur due to atherosclerosis, where plaque builds up on the walls of the artery and restricts blood flow. Other causes may include aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, or trauma to the blood vessel.

In addition to the location and intensity of the bruit, the nurse would also assess the patient for any associated symptoms. Depending on the location and underlying cause, the patient may experience symptoms such as pain, numbness, or weakness in the affected area. The nurse would document these findings and report them to the healthcare provider for further evaluation and management.

In some cases, the nurse may need to perform additional assessments or diagnostic tests to further evaluate the bruit. This may include obtaining a Doppler ultrasound to assess blood flow through the affected vessel or referring the patient to a specialist, such as a vascular surgeon, for further evaluation and management.

A nurse would describe a bruit as an abnormal sound heard during auscultation over a blood vessel. It is often described as a “whooshing” sound and suggests a disruption in normal blood flow. The nurse would carefully assess the location, intensity, and timing of the bruit, as well as any associated symptoms, to determine the underlying cause and guide further evaluation and management.