Vibrating heart sensation - what could it be?

I keep being woken up by a vibrating feeling that appears to come from my heart. It's often quite strong and feels like I've got a mobile/cell phone vibrating in my chest. Has anyone else experienced this?

It wakes me up once or twice a night and appears to be more common when I'm lying on my side. My fitbit records a steady (50-60bpm) pulse while this is going on. I can usually stop the sensation by coughing or moving.

Does anyone know what this could be?

I've been diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation but this feels different.

Thanks in advance for your replies.

3 Replies

  • Hi Pikaia

    I often have this sensation at night, less so in the day. It feels like a buzzing sometimes, or as you say, like a mobile on vibrate. As my pulse is usually quite slow when this happens, I have decided to assume I can feel the atria being crazy whilst not the ventricles, hence a modest HR. No idea if this is the case, but it means I don't fret about it. I have found it works better for me not to concentrate on symptoms too much or else I can get a bit obsessed. This sensation can last quite a while and it makes me want to thump my chest to stop it. It feels as though my heart is buzzing rather than beating, but I'm sure this is not the case. I haven't died of it yet! I don' t see why it can't just be an awareness of the top of the heart. I have LSPAF and don't take any meds for it :)

  • HI,

    I also have the same thing -- can feel pulse about 45-60bpm and if I lie on side (especially left) in bed and all is quiet outside then I can also make out a much faster rhythm (I estimate a regular 200/300bpm) at the same time. I can only feel/(?hear) these if all is quiet. Both seem to come from chest but I can easily check the pulse of 45-60 at the wrist at the same time (this slowish pulse is not regular - inter-beat time varies from 0.7 to 2sec).

    I can stop it by moving onto front or back or deep breathing.

    I have mentioned this to 3 highly qualified EP consultants - two have said that the fast rate must be a hearing artefact or muscle tic/twitch from some other part of the body and one just said interesting and he'd never heard of this before.

    I seems to me obvious that I and you two are feeling both the ventricular beat/pulse and the atrial fibrillation/flutter (I have been diagnosed with atrial flutter and some fibrillation resulting in a slow and uneven pulse - picked up by me about 15 years ago but not by medics until it became fairly constant in the last year or so).

    Age 70, no worrying palpitations or other symptoms except awareness of arrhythmia and slightly less heart-rate in reserve when I exercise.

    Maybe it should be named the Pikaia Syndrome and EPs should start paying some attention.

    Keep well


  • Thanks for your reply Danny. I agree with your diagnosis of atrial flutter and ventricle pulse. I'll mention it to my EP in a few weeks and report back here. Perhaps we should start collecting data and publish a paper on it!

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