A system has been developed based on the measurement of skin surface vibration that can be used to detect the underlying vascular wall motion of superficial arteries and the chest wall. Data obtained from tissue phantoms suggested that the detected signals were related to intravascular pressure, an important clinical and physiological parameter. Unlike the conventional optical Doppler techniques that have been used to measure blood perfusion in skin layers and blood flow within superficial arteries, the present system was optimized to pick up skin vibrations. An optical interferometer with a 633-nm He:Ne laser was utilized to detect micrometer displacements of the skin surface. Motion velocity profiles of the skin surface near each superficial artery and auscultation points on a chest for the two heart valve sounds exhibited distinctive profiles. The theoretical and experimental results demonstrated that the system detected the velocity of skin movement, which is related to the time derivative of the pressure. The system also reduces the loading effect on the pulsation signals and heart sounds produced by the conventional piezoelectric vibration sensors. The system's sensitivity, which could be optimized further, was 366.2 μm/s for the present research. Overall, optical cardiovascular vibrometry has the potential to become a simple noninvasive approach to cardiovascular screening.