I have had the St Jude pacemaker for 4 months and I get vibrations at night. It starts when I lay down flat. I elevate the bed and sometimes it will stop vibrating after a half hour or so. I've had the heart rate turned down and it still vibrates when it shouldn't be running.

Rate at 45 but vibrating in the 50s

its driving me nuts  the  doctor is giving up and I've even asked about it being removed

can a pacemaker still give out a signal when it's off?





Probably not the PM - but I'm guessing.

by crustyg - 2022-06-17 06:26:56

I think some of the PMs can make an audible alarm when the battery is getting low, but I don't recall any vibrating as a warning - but happy to learn that I'm wrong on this.

I *wonder* if you're feeling some pacing pulses which can be position sensitive.  It's possible for the R-ventricle pacing wire to also be able to activate the diaphragm, and if it is a small enough impulse that might feel like vibration.

You say that this seems to happen at night: many/most PMs are configured to perform an auto-calibration every night (they increase/decrease the pacing voltage to ensure that every output will reliably trigger a heartbeat) and many PM users can feel this and it's quite disturbing - this feature can be turned off.


by skigrl3 - 2022-06-17 07:50:58


I have something similar happen the past week or so when I lay flat, not all the time but mainly when I try to gently stretch my back out. I don't know if its pvc's or something. My pm is new so unlikely battery but I go for my 1st post pm insertion today so I will ask for sure. Good luck.

Bad vibrations

by AgentX86 - 2022-06-17 12:14:57

Some pacemaker do vibrate when intervention is needed.  One reason is a low battery but there are others that can be programmed as alerts.  If this is the case, your EP should have given you instructions. If your EP doesn't know the cause, this isn't it.  It would be easy to interrogate the pacemaker to find this alarm.

I would bet on the diapragm excitiation mentioned above or even nerves mending.  You shouldn't be just blown off though.  It's important and real enough to you. It should be to him, too.


by Spud - 2022-06-17 17:13:43

The interesting part of my vibration is that it is there at night when the pacemaker is not on. I wonder if a pacemaker is an active electrical instrument with a battery in it but turned down or off?


by Spud - 2022-06-17 17:15:07

Any one know what test shows the correctness of the lead placements?

Lead placement

by crustyg - 2022-06-17 18:40:10

You should have had two X-rays post implantation: PA and lateral.  The PA (from back to front) shows the PM, leads and where they are in the heart, BUT they cannot show exactly where the RV lead is - implanted into the front wall of the RV or the septum between R and L vent looks the same.  From the side - the lateral - it's clear if the RV lead is connected to the septum (=good) or the front wall of the RV (=bad).  Also the pacing capture voltage, lead impedance can sometimes give a clue about lead placement, but the two X-rays are the key.

I'm curious about your assertion "at night when the pacemaker is not on".  I've not come across a PM that's turned off at night.  Runs with a lower minimum pacing rate, that's common.  But turned off at night?  Seems odd to me.

This Might Be A Stretch But.....

by Marybird - 2022-06-17 22:06:54

For lack of another explanation, Spud, makes me wonder if it's possibly an intrinsic tremor that you might be feeling as a vibration, worse at night when you're quiet and at rest. I get a similar feeling around my lower neck and upper chest sometimes, have for a number of years. It's very slight, but I used to mistake the tremors for palpitations, but realized my heart rate was mostly in a normal range and steady when I felt these tremors. I get palpitations too, but I can tell the difference between those and the tremors when I get them now. 

I take a fairly high dose of metoprolol to control my heart rate ( A-fib and other atrial tachyarrhythmias) and find this medication controls those tremors around my neck and upper chest as well. I don't always get the tremors, but when I do, it's generally when the metoprolol has worn off and it's time to take the next dose. 

If tremors like that are what you're experiencing, I could well see them being worse at night, and it could be that a medication might control it ( again, I might be way off base here, but just a thought). 

I have a St. Jude PM 2272 Assurity model too, and know there is a test mode as Crusty mentioned, and it has the effect ( or at least it did on me) of running up the heart rate for maybe 30 seconds or so. I felt those as palpitations and assumed it was me, but the pacemaker technician turned off that test mode at my last in office check, saying I didn't need it. Now I know all the palpitations I feel ARE me. But it is possible you're feeling such a test mode, and it wouldn't show up as any kind of event on a pacemaker report. 

As for the pacemaker being turned off at night, I'm guessing you probably mean it isn't pacing at night since the low setting at 45 is below your intrinsic heart rate. It's still "on", carrying out its monitoring functions, and "on standby", if you will. I don't think it vibrates during those times, at least, I've never experienced anything like that from my pacemaker that I know about. 



I feel what you’re describing vibrating too!

by Lavender - 2022-06-20 15:17:23

I have been reading this site since I received my CRT-P device February 2021, after a thirty-three second ventricular standstill.  (Thank you to all those who've helped me cope and learn since then! Crustyg, Agent, Jules, Tracey, Gemita, and so many others. I will learn all your names/spelling better!)☺️

I never joined the site, because I felt like a real novice, and certainly was too new/traumatized to help anyone much. Getting stronger and wiser, though. 🥹

Anyway, your post on vibrating made me feel compelled to reply! I'm all healed from the device implantation and back to life as normal except for seeing a licensed massage therapist to keep my upper left arm from getting too tight and muscle knots since my device implantation. That is totally manageable. 

However, the vibration is ongoing inspite of my efforts to get the cardiologist and Boston Scientific tech to resolve this. I have had multiple episodes of being deeply asleep then awakened by a vibration sensation that runs from across the upper body out the arms. It's about chest height and encompasses the area below the neck. 

It feels like a cat purring, like a cellphone on vibrate, not visible. I can put one arm on the other and feel the current it seems. It lasts only seconds and mostly when I lie flat on my back or slightly elevated on a pillow. It never happens when I am standing, sitting or walking. 

The sensation was strong enough to wake me. I would lie there and wait it out. It's not painful but was frightening. I got afraid to fall asleep and propped pillows to stop me from rolling on my back while asleep. 

I called the cardiologist and was told it has nothing to do with my CRT-P. When I saw the Boston Scientific Pacemaker Tech, I asked her if she ever had anyone say they feel vibrations. She said 80-90% of pacemaker people report some level of this and I'll get used to it. She said she would change something in my device. 

She explained that they call the pacemaker "the can". There are rings on the leads to the pacemaker which send signals. Mine was set "ring three to the can". She changed it to "ring four to the can". 

I am 100% dependent on pacemaker and set 60-130bpm. The pacemaker tech said my bedside monitor checks the pacemaker between midnight and three am.  I usually get the vibration sensation about 5:30 am or thereabouts, so I don't think that's why it vibrates.

I find that if I sleep on my left side the feeling like a cat purring goes away but sleeping on my back or right side the feeling is like cellphone on vibrate for about 7 or 8 seconds. Muscle quivering goes on in upper body-chest and arms.

I can't sleep well on my left side since the device was implanted. After a short while, I feel uncomfortable or like the device is impinged, and I get a sensation in my nerves in that area, so I always turn over. 
I kept a log this year in 2022 and told them at my pacemaker check:

Feb 7  -about 5:15 am. vibration woke me from deep sleep 

Feb 13 -about 5 am woke me for a couple hours intermittent vibration lasts 7 or 8 seconds then pauses restarts frequently 

Feb 27- 6:20am(?) vibration woke me

March 4 -2:51am vibration/stimulation lying on back woke me…above belly button below ribs rapid strong vibration 

March 25 - 3:30 am vibrating sensation while on back

The cardiologist said my xrays show all three leads in the right place so she still says it's not the pacemaker causing it.  

Since the tech changed "ring four to can", I still vibrate but it's milder and doesn't always wake me, but it's still there.  I'm thinking nothing can be done, because I asked the pacemaker tech to "turn down" the pacemaker and she demonstrated to me that when she dials it back, I felt awful and like I would black out. 

I apologize in advance for not having the medical terms to describe it better, and I've asked before for my pacemaker read-out after tests but they don't give them to me.😣

 I have learned most of everything I know here on this site about pacemakers. I am so grateful to hear someone else understands this vibration sensation. I feel like the bride of frankenstein when it happens but I haven't noticed my hair frizzing up in that Elsa Lanchester striped updo yet.😬

I truly believe that crustyg has some clue on it being pacing pulses related. When I have my September CRT-P device check, I am going to ask the Boston Sci tech about the auto-calibration that crustyg mentioned.



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