You may experience what feels like a heartbeat in your stomach at some point. This is your abdominal aorta pulsating. It is a normal feeling in healthy people, but can also be a sign of a major health risk.
The Abdominal Aorta
The abdominal aorta is the primary artery that carries blood from your heart to your head and extremities. It is located to the left of the spine, between the chest and navel.
A Heartbeat Feeling
You can feel the pulse of the abdominal aorta, what feels like a heartbeat, by pressing into your stomach above the navel. You may also feel it without doing so. Thin people can notice it more due to less abdominal fat.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
A heavy pulsating of the abdominal aorta could be a sign of an abdominal aortic aneurysm or AAA. This is caused by a weak spot in the wall of the artery that leads to inflation. This is life-threatening and can result in death if ruptured.
A physician will be able to measure the width of the aorta's pulsation and determine if it is normal or indicative of an AAA.
Who's at Risk?
Abdominal aortic aneurysms are more common amongst seniors, men and smokers.