Pectus Excavatum and Visible Heartbeat in 2022, Risks + Tips & More

Evidence Based This post has medical citations

Seeing the heartbeat through the chest cavity is very common if you have pectus excavatum. Your heart is probably pushed to the ribs, making the heartbeat visible.

It doesn’t mean it is causing heart issues, but it can be very awkward for others to see.

This is another reason why most of us with pectus excavatum are self-conscious about our physical appearance and avoid taking the shirt off. 

It is Not the Heartbeat

It is soothing to know that doctors say it isn’t the actual heartbeat that we can see, but the muscles above the heart are moved.

Anatomically, the heart isn’t located underneath the skin. However, when most people see this strange movement, they immediately think that the heart is beating under the skin.

Bad for Posture

The visible heartbeat in the sunken sternum can further worsen pectus posture. We tend to slouch our shoulders forward, trying to hide the cavity and visible heartbeat from others. This can be a bizarre thing for others to see, and most will be surprised.

I believe the pectus posture usually makes more room for your heart. The spine will press more against the sunken breastbone when you stand straight. 

More Room for the Heart

On the other hand, if you slouch and have a kyphotic spine, there will be more room between the spine and the sternum. This may be a reason why a lot of people feel awkward while standing upright.

I tend to be uncomfortable and anxious when I meditate, especially when I am conscious of my body posture while I do meditation. I genuinely believe this is the body’s natural response to the deformity. It even tries to hide the visible heartbeat on the sunken sternum.

When it is Most Obvious?

This problem is most evident while you do strenuous physical activity. I usually work out shirtless in my home gym, and I see my heartbeat through the skin daily.

I can see it just above my left flared rib.

If your chest is indented severely, your heart rate can go up even when you take a shower. You’ll be able to see the heartbeat when you look in the mirror after a shower.

Stop Wearing Tight T-Shirts

If you wear a tight t-shirt, your heart beating can sometimes be seen through the shirt. That will be concerning for a lot of people. To feel more comfortable, I advise you to wear more roomy clothes to hide your rib flaring poking out of your tight t-shirt. 

3 Interesting Ways to Look At It

  • Sometimes you can even count the pulse by looking at the heartbeat in the chest cavity. This can be very fun to do. 
  • Look at the heart beating as a reminder that you’re still alive and can correct all problems. That’s the most positive way to look at that. 
  • Some people can feel their heartbeat while lying down flat on their back. If you wear noise-canceling headphones, you can even hear the heart sound. 

Does it Cause Heart Issues?

Noticing your chest move when your heartbeats doesn’t mean you have a heart problem. Many people don’t have any negative symptoms even though they have a severe concave chest and vice versa. 

To know whether you have heart problems caused by your deformity, it is best to visit a thoracic surgeon to analyze your chest.

  • You can also get an echocardiogram (ECG), as it will show if you have a problem with your heart.
  • The computed tomography (CT) scan will give you a comprehensive insight into your pectus excavatum.
  • A cardiopulmonary exam will show how the pectus excavatum affects breathing and lung functioning.

These are the three most important things that will show whether your health is affected by sunken chest deformity. You don’t have to undergo surgery if you see a surgeon.

It is intelligent, especially if you’re very worried about your visible heart beating in your chest. You cannot thoroughly evaluate the pectus excavatum deformity if you look at it.

It isn’t just a cosmetic deformity, as many doctors think it is. It is essential to visit a Pectus Excavatum specialist if you’re worried about it. 

Nuss Procedure Can Fix This

I’ve stumbled upon a few people on Reddit who underwent a Nuss procedure and claim their visible heartbeat on the chest was gone after the surgery. 

The Bottom Line

The visible heartbeat on your inverted chest is pretty standard, especially since most of us with pectus excavatum are skinny. There is almost no fat between the skin and the bone structure of the ribs, which makes the heart beating even more visible.

You don’t have to worry about it, as this is not exactly the heart you are seeing, but the tissue above the heart. If you want to make it less noticeable, you need to improve the pectus excavatum deformity and add muscle mass to the chest area.

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me or leave a comment in the section below. Thank you for reading!

Article by:

Mihail Veleski

My name is Mihail Veleski. I used to suffer from the pectus excavatum deformity during my teenage years.

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