Correct placement of the stethoscope picks up existent bruits in the neck, at the navel and kidneys, or in the femoral, iliac and temporal arteries. Bruits make a whooshing sound that indicates potentially life-threatening issues.
Arteriosclerosis and aneurysms cause bruits, which a medical professional hears by flipping the head of the stethoscope and listening through the bell. When listening for a carotid artery bruit, the stethoscope bell helps achieve a seal to isolate the sounds from the artery.
During an exam, the medical professional asks the patient to take a deep breath and hold it to eliminate the breathing sounds that interfere with hearing the bruit. The examiner also presses on the contra-lateral common artery to see if and how it changes the sound of the bruit.