What Can Be Heard in the Neck When the Carotid Arteries Fill With Plaque?

When a carotid artery contains enough plaque to cause narrowing, a doctor using a stethoscope sometimes hears a sound like water rushing through a stream, according to Harvard Medical School; however, that noise does not always indicate an arterial blockage. Also, in certain cases, congested arteries are silent.

Carotid arteries are located in the neck and carry blood to the brain, Harvard Medical School explains. As the carotid artery narrows because of a buildup of cholesterol, carotid artery disease develops. This limits the blood supply to the brain. In addition, if the plaque breaks, a blood clot forms to repair the gap. It is possible for an individual to have a stroke if that clot makes its way to the brain.