Vibration on the left side of chest
by bangi, Jan 31, 2007
Hi, I'm a 28 year old female and offlate (about 2 weeks) I've been feeling this vibration on the left side of my chest. It feels more intense when I've got my arm against the side. It seems to be more in my left breast. I mostly feel it only while I'm sitting.
Is this normal? Should I have this checked up or would it go away in a while?
by CCF-M.D.-MJM, Feb 01, 2007

I would recommened seeing someone a doctor about it.  The reason is not that I am particularly concerned but that that I am not sure what to tell you.  There is not a serious, life threatening medical problem that I know that presents like a vibration in the chest.  I am not sure what else to tell.  Being able to sit down and talk in more detail about the type of symptoms may help to tease out the cause or at least reassure you that it is nothing to worry about.

I hope this helps.  Thanks for posting.
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Member Comments (22)
by MCarls, Feb 01, 2007
I have the same thing.  It just started yesterday afternoon.  I first thought it was a cell phone in my pocket on vibrate, but it's more subtle.  Only lasts for a second or two.  I haven't timed how long it is between vibration events.  Very strange.  Please let me know if you find out anything.  Thanks.
by mariop, Feb 03, 2007
I've had that same problem for 6 months now.  I'm losing a lot of sleep over it. I've been to several specialists and none of them know anything about it.  Usually, when medical professionals cannot explain something rationally, they will assign it to anxiety.  I suspect that my irratic heart beat has traumatized muscle tissue in my chest and  the more it gets beat up the more it vibrates.

So, I hope you find out what it is and report back here and tell us; but do not be susprised if you are told that it's anxiety.

by arthur, Feb 06, 2007
Vibrations in the chest.  I've had those for a number of years, ever since first being diagnosed with focally-driven PACs and PAF.  I've undergone numerous tests, some of which were designed to rule out sources of these perceived vibrations.  There are only a couple of things that can vibrate in one's chest: the heart muscle, the esophagus, the muscular walls of an artery or the diaphragm.  Everything was ruled out, except for the heart.  The current theory is that the foci (tiny electrically active islands of tissue embedded in normal cardiac muscle) may be the culprits.  They vibrate at about 100-300 bpm, and this is constant.  You can feel them when excited, or after sudden movement, as the adrenaline surge kicks them up.  The vibration seems centered at or near the heart, and sometimes they can almost be felt by touching beneathe the sternum.  It may be that some folks can feel them more easily than others because of their location and whether they get "amplified" by surrounding nerve tissue.

I have not stumbled upon a cure.  The only thing close to that I can relate is that the vibration frequency shifted from about 100-200 to about 300+ after an rf ablation to remove some of the foci.


by mariop, Feb 06, 2007
Say arthur, do you have any textual references about your theory of vibrations?  I think in my case the PVCs have beaten my chest so bad that the whole area has been traumatized.  I'm looking for some written material by professionals to show my cardio that his dismissive attitude is based on ignorance.
by arthur, Feb 07, 2007
There's the rub.  I have plenty of references regarding the diaphragm as a reason for vibrations (via an irritated phrenic nerve, which just happens to pass through the heart).  There are also muscular ticks associated with the chest wall for which references can be found.  However, the most I could get out of some research-level EPs is that "many people present with such vibrations that also present with PVCs/PACs...but no clear reason has been proven."  When asked whether a focus could be responsible, the EPs have agreed that it could be possible.  Since such vibrations are generally subtle and apparently not causative of any real problems, I doubt you'll find anything better than an opinion from an experienced EP.

In the end, I scoured the literature for any and everything that could shake within the chest, and, like Sherlock Holmes, having eliminated everything else, one is left with only one conclusion.  You have to realize that a number of nervous systems run up along the back of the heart (never mind through it), along the esophagus, (up against the PV ostia, a location favored by many foci) so a tiny vibration in just the right place could easily be picked up and amplified enough to notice...but just about impossible to locate using an EKG.  If it really bothers you, there are experts in neuromuscular disorders that have equipment sensitive enough to locate the critter(s)...but what's to be done once they are found?

Let me know if you'd like at least some references on the diaphragm.

by mariop, Feb 07, 2007
Yes, I have read most of your other posts and I am convinced of your "theory".  My problem is to convince others (doctors) who believe that their competence comprises all there is to know, and if something doesn't fit in their little scheme of things, then it must not exist. If you can refer me to anything that is written I would appreciate it.  If you prefer to email it to me, ***@****.

I appreciate your help my friend.
by arthur, Feb 08, 2007
The topic of muscular vibrations really falls under a condition known as myoclonus.  Specifically to the diaphragm, it is refered to these days as diaphragmatic myoclonus (originally suffered in 1723 by Antony van Leeuwenhoek "father of the microscope", wherein he noted pulsations in his chest which seemed to feel like heart beats, but where clearly not).  There are many causes for such a myoclonus, usually related to an irritated phrenic nerve.  A couple of references that may help here:  NEJM vol. 289, no.26, 1390-95 (1973) and Southern Medical Journal vol. 88, no. 12, 1270-1273 (1995).  If you scour the web for "myoclonus" you are likely to find a ton of other references. Note that many may be documented for race horses, wherein a temporary imbalance of Mg due to overstressing the horse can result in a drammatic fluttering of the diaphragm. At one point I underwent a fluoroscopic exam wherein I suggested looking for a diaphragmatic myoclonus...the expert MD running the exam was clueless, in fact stating to me that he never heard of such a thing.

The problem with myoclonus is that it's generally a nervous system issue, and doctors as well as scientists just don't understand nerves and their behaviour all that well.  In my experience, any mention of a myoclonus generally ellicits a downturned mouth and a momentary glaze, followed by changing the subject.  Good luck.

by phoenixrzzg, Feb 13, 2007
I've been reading your posts with interest.  Do any of you carry a cell phone in your shirt pocket?  I ask because my husband has also started feeling vibrations in his upper left side above the heart and thought it was his cell phone vibrating softly, but the phone never was.  Then it even happened when his phone wasn't on him.  He has a razor phone and usually carries in his left inside shirt pocket.  Any thoughts?  I can't seem to find much on the web.  He is very healthy so he thought this was odd, and wondered if a cell phone could effect your "electrical" system of your body.  Thanks!