The carotid arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the brain. The pulse from the carotids may be felt on either side of the front of the neck, just below the angle of the jaw. This rhythmic "beat" is caused by varying volumes of blood being pushed out of the heart to the rest of the body.
Review Date: 03/10/2011
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital.