“Feeling of the pulse at different locations in the body can be completely normal,” says Chester M. Hedgepeth, III, MD, PhD, Executive Chief of Cardiology at Care New England.
“Importantly, all the arteries in the heart conduct the pulse wave started in the heart. Pulses can be felt in the large arteries of the neck (carotid artery) and leg (femoral artery).
“Normal pulses can also be felt in the wrist (radial artery), temple (temporal artery) and even the stomach with deep palpation (aorta).”
The aorta is the body’s largest blood vessel, originating from the heart and extending down the abdomen where it eventually branches off into the femoral arteries that supply the legs with oxygenated blood.
“Patients frequently describe feeling their palpitations [pulse] in different parts of the body,” says Dr. Hedgepeth.
“PVCs are commonly associated with this sensation, as they cause a premature firing of the heart’s electrical system; many patients feel a skipped and ‘heavy’ beat because the heart is ejecting significantly more blood volume. This ‘heavy’ beat can often be felt in the temple, head or neck.”
In summary, there is nothing to be alarmed about if you feel your pulse anywhere or “everywhere” on your body.
Think of your arteries as conduits, kind of like if you were to place your hand on a metal water pipe inside your bedroom wall and feel it vibrating, but the source of the vibrating is a water generator down the street.
Dr. Hedgepeth also serves as a physician in the cardiovascular division and arrhythmia service at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, plus is an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.