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Buzzing sensation in the chest

My partner Jeanette has been having a buzzing sensation in her chest for about 10 years. For the same period of time she has been having ectopic heart beats, which she realises are harmless. However, over the last 6 months or so the buzzing sensation has appeared more robust. There have been shooting sensations to the head. The intensity of the feeling can vary and is more intense after any form of exercise. Even such things as operating a computer keyboard or a remote control for the tv can increase the buzzing sensation. Recently Jeanette was rushed to hospital, as she says that, at a particularly bad time with the buzzing, she went into a sinus tachycardia rythem. (She is a nurse so self diagnosed). However, whilst at the hospital her heart had resumed normal rythem, and all tests undertaken proved normal. However, this onset of sinus tachycardia rythem appears to be happening more frequently, and Jeanette's explanation of this is that the buzzing is gradually wearing the heart down, which is freaking her out. Jeanette has seen a cardiologist who has tried to re-assure her that she has no problems with her heart. However, she still feels there is a potential link between the buzzing and potential problems with her heart. She says that when her heart went into sinus tachycardia rythem, that the buzzing stopped, and coupled with the buzzing being in the chest area, still makes her feel there are potential problems with the heart. The increase in this sensation, (which she describes as like a swarm of bees), coincided with a change in her medication. Around June last year Jeanette stopped taking Venlafaxine, which gave her bad withdrawal symptoms. She has been taking a combination of Citalapram and Mirtazapine since. The query is this:- 1.Are you aware that a buzzing sensation in the chest can be related to, and directly effect heart rythem.  2.Are you aware of this buzzing sensation, and are there any cures, as the buzzing sensation alone is driving her nuts. Could it be related to her medication. The only situation which gives her respite is taking Valium, which appears to dampen down the sensation. However, GP's are very reluctant to prescribe valium, and all other medications including various opiates have no effect on the buzzing. 3.We picked up your contact by reading the forums, which was a number of people with similar conditions. Is there a method via your website, (forums), that Jeanette can liaise directly with individuals who suffer from a similar condition. To be able to do this may help with her peace of mind.
Jeanette is continually being told that anxiety is the problem, which in itself is driving her mad. It appears to Jeanette that when a condition cannot be diagnosed, then it is bracketed into anxiety. However, she states the sensation is 24/7, and exists when she is in a relaxed frame of mind. Whilst she acknowledges that it is a vicious circle, and anxiety does have a part to play, the sensation is very real and it is a case of the buzzing causing anxiety, and not vice versa. I dont know if we will receive a reply to this mail. Jeanette, having seen a cardiologist, is now awaiting an appointment with a neurologist. Regards, and thank you for taking the time to read this mail.
8 Responses
Avatar universal
Interesting questions.  If you google the phrase  'buzzing sensation in chest,' an ENORMOUS number of pages come up:


Lots of people all over the world suffer from this symptom.

However, it is important to understand (and as a nurse, Jeannette herself should have studied this in nursing school) that there is no structure or function or nerve supply--none--in the heart itself that is capable of producing such a sensation.  That is the major reason that physicians attribute  the buzz or vibration to anxiety.

The facts that she has had some serious cardiac evalution at the ER , and that she has other, non-cardiac but definitely psych-related symptoms such as shooting pains to the head, and that Valium relieves her symptoms, all point strongly to a psychological disorder.

People with cardiac neuroses (another term that can and should be googled by both you and Jeannette) detest the idea of a psychological cause for their distress, because their distressing sensations are so very real, but if a thorough cardiac work up or two--such as Tom h mentions--reveals a healthy heart, a reasonable person must accept the possibility of a different cause.

By all means, Jeannette should have a 24 hour or longer monitor, but if this also turns up negative (or has already done so), it is time, after ten years of buzzing, to accept that there is probably another source and another solution for the problem.

Indeed, the buzzing increases anxiety.  Again, however, in the presence of a normally-functioning heart,, the root cause of the buzzing is very likely an anxiety state. The right approach at that point is to see the correct specialist, and that would be a psychiatrist.

1423357 tn?1511089042
Question, has Jeanette tried a 24 hour or longer monitor to capture this sensation?  I think this would be the best route to determine is this feeling is coming from the heart or some other neurilogical issue.  My wife take Venlafaxine after having to stop Paxil.  She had breast cancer 4 years ago, had two lumpectomies done, then the radiation followed by Tamoxifen for the next 5 years.  We discovered by a news report that Paxil counteracts the effect of Tamoxifen, so she had to switch to Venlafaxine.  The first month she took it, was a very wierd time.  Random confusion, crying, and disorientation.  Then it smoothed out and she's been fine.  She plans to return to Paxil once her Tamoxifen treatment if completed in November.  Getting off the Venlafaxine could prove to be interesting.
995271 tn?1463927859
If her EKG is checking out OK during the buzzing sensation then I think it's safe to say a rhythm issue is ruled out as a cause.  

The only other things I can think of would be a pericardial rub or a plural friction rub.  This is where either the tissues that surround the heart (pericardial) and lungs (plural) are rubbing from movement for some reason.  It will cause a friction-type sensation.  For the plural rub it will be noticed usually while breathing in.  For the pericardial it can be heard as a squeak while listening with a steth.  If she's been listened to with a steth while experiencing the buzzing and these weren't heard then I would say probably ruled out.

If everything has been ruled out, perhaps it's some weird nerve feedback on the autonomic nerves?  basically some sort of dysfunction on those nerves. (this is a SWAG, a.k.a. scientific wild-a$$ guess).
Avatar universal
Writing as someone who has experienced a pleural rub, I can say that the sensation of the inflamed pleural membranes trying to slide over each other is so great that it literally takes your breath away.  I cannot think of any way to confuse it with a buzz or vibration.  

Although I have read that the symptoms of a pericardial effusion can be be minor, one of my friends had it, and he described burning pain, but nothing of a vibrating nature.

The apparently widespread phenomenon of buzzing or vibrating in the chest  seems to be something doctors have not written about online to any extent, even though they *must* run into numerous patients who describe having it.   I have found only one MD at *************.com who has taken it on.  

http://www.*************.com/breast-cancer/c/78/99775/case-vibrating\” ...

She suggests that it might be what's called 'fasciculation,' a flickering contraction of a small muscle, very much like that annoying twitch that people get in their eyelids sometimes.  Significantly, as most of us have experienced, that eyelid twitch tends to show up when we're tense and under stress.  If an eyelid can do it for no real pathological cause, there is no reason that a little fiber of a chest muscle such as the serratus anterior, the pectoralis minor, or the intercostal muscles (all these can be googled, folks) cannot do the same thing.  These muscles, by the way, though outside the body cavity, are relatively deep and cannot generally be felt by an ordinary person's own hand, but their nerves carry information that is called 'somatic'--referring to the 'outside' of the body:  The skin, joints, and skeletal muscle (such as those of the chest that I mentioned above).

The sensations described by those who get the chest 'buzz' are much more compatible with this explanation than they are with the nerve supply of the heart, which is made of a of a different kind of muscle and which has nerves that carry 'visceral' (deep organ) information to the brain, which interprets the sensations it receives according to the 'concept of labeled lines'  (a term which can also be googled).

The bottom line is that we get very different kinds of sensations from structures on the outer part of our bodies than we do from structures deep inside the body cavities.

"Buzz" and "vibration" are outer-body sensations, compared to what we get get from the gut, the heart, the gall bladder, the kidney or pancreas, and so on.  Anyone who has had a disorder of those deeper structures has experienced this difference.
612551 tn?1450025775
The inputs are well beyond anything I know or have experienced, it is good to see many here can address you questions.  One they missed is administrative and I'll try to answer that one.

Yes, it is possible to establish personal contact, one-on-one, with others who share a similar interest/concern.  Perhaps your post has already started that process.   By being registered you have a profile, as well as the right to post, which provides the possibility for others to leave you a public note, or to send you a private message.  The message function is on, or off, at option of the owner.  This feature has resulted in the establish of direct email contact between members to make it even easier to communicate.  

I advise against posting email address, phone numbers or other personal information in a post here or elsewhere.

Of course, Jeanette can either use your registration or register herself to make use of the "message" feature of membership.

Wishing the best,
Avatar universal
Thank you very much for your comments, they are much appreciated. The purpose of my questions was two fold really. Firstly, to try to give Jeanette some peace of mind that there was no heart related problem/link to her buzzing sensations. Secondly, it was to query whether this was a common condition, and whether there any known remedies/cures. To a degree the comments posted by 5 people have been very helpful. Certainly she appears a bit brighter within herself with regards to worrying about her heart. However, the buzzing is still driving her mad, and she is hoping for something positive to come from a forthcoming meeting with a neurologist, and not to be told yet again that this is anxiety. She has been prescribed a beta blocker by her cardiologist, which she is yet to try, so we shall wait and see. Once again, thank you very much.
Avatar universal
I've just recently got this buzzing in my chest when I'm relaxed it becomes quiet apparent - it's seems to me that when it is happening most of muscles in my chest and face contract slightly, It reminds me of what 50hz electricity feels like (I am an electrician). It also has a rhythm, it would be like ...................................,/  ...................................,/ .....................................,/
And seems to come from close to my chest plate, but even now I can feel it tensing the muscles in my head. It has started to concern me.
Avatar universal
Saying chest humming is caused by anxiety in this case is nonsense. I have the same problem especially when lying on my left side. I also get PAFib and perpetual ectopics. Occasionally the humming will swich off for a few seconds, then restart. ECG irregularity in a Holter test will not be found because it is deliberately filtered out or ignored as high frequency noise not cardiac related. I do not know what causes this problem, but it is physical, and not mental.
Check out a rare heart condition called W.P.W ..WOLFF PARKINSON WHITE rare heart condition I was having same symptoms as you aas diagnosed when a sharp eyed specialised noticed a third electrical impulse interfering with the 2 normal ones in left and right chambers of heart can go unnoticed if E.C.G is not read properly and will cause tacchycardia which can subside or even sudden death
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