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Sex rarely makes heart stop, study shows

Sex rarely makes heart stop, study shows

Although it's a staple trope in film and television, a new study suggests that having a serious heart attack is actually highly unlikely to happen during or just after sex.

Cardiac patients anxious about the risks of sex to their health can feel comfortable being intimate: the chances of a heart attack from sexual activity are extremely small, according to the results of a new study. The majority of cases were men with a previous history of cardiovascular disease. Previous studies have confirmed sex can trigger non-fatal cardiac events like heart attacks, but Chugh and colleagues designed their study to determine whether or not sexual activity is a risk factor for SCA in particular, since the condition accounts for 350,000 deaths in the US each year.

In total, the scientists identified 4,557 SCAs in Portland during the 13-year study period.

But overall, sex was linked to only 1 percent of all cardiac arrests that occurred in men.

"Performing CPR by bystanders until the ambulance arrives translates to significantly better survival for cardiac arrest", report author Aapo Aro said. As the same situation is visualized in a number of dramatic series where an older man can get a heart attack during sex.

The safety of sex comes up from time to time with patients who've suffered a heart attack or have been diagnosed with a heart problem, Goldberg and Gulati said. Roughly 32 percent of patients who had sex-related cardiac arrests received CPR, compared with 27 percent of the other cases.

Despite another partner being present in all sex-linked SCAs, just one-third of those patients received immediate CPR. Patients who experienced SCA related to sexual activity also had a higher rate of ventricular fibrillation/tachycardia than those who did not. Almost 20 percent of people survived in sex-related cases, compared to only about 13 percent survival odds for other patients.

Chugh and colleagues reported their findings at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions meeting in Anaheim, California, and online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"This highlights the importance of continued efforts to educate the public on the importance of CPR, no matter the circumstance", Chugh said.

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