Bruit, also called vascular murmur,[3] is the abnormal sound generated by turbulent flow of blood in an artery due to either an area of partial obstruction or a localized high rate of blood flow through an unobstructed artery.[4]

Other namesVascular murmur
  • English: /ˈbrt/, /ˈbri/[1][2]

The bruit may be heard ("auscultated") by securely placing the head of a stethoscope to the skin over the turbulent flow, and listening. Most bruits occur only in systole, so the bruit is intermittent and its frequency dependent on the heart rate. Anything increasing the blood flow velocity such as fever, anemia, hyperthyroidism, or physical exertion, can increase the amplitude of the bruit.


It is naturalized from the French word for "noise", although another notes that /ˈbri/ and /brˈ/ are also common,[5] and others give only /ˈbri/ for the cardiac sense.[6][7]

Associated terms

Describing location of a partial obstruction

Describing the mechanism of a partial obstruction

Describing location of localized high blood flow


See also


  1. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  2. Elsevier, Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary, Elsevier.
  3. "bruit" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  4. "vascular murmur" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  5. Wolters Kluwer, Stedman's Medical Dictionary, Wolters Kluwer.
  6. Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, Merriam-Webster.
  7. Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, Merriam-Webster.

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