Can Sex Trigger Fatal Cardiac Arrest? Study Finds Risk Is 'Extremely Low'

Two people are seen embracing Oct. 16 2004 in New York City

Two people are seen embracing Oct. 16 2004 in New York City

Anxious whether your heart health is strong enough for sex?

A United States study of sudden cardiac arrests found only a third of cases that occurred during sex received "bystander CPR".

Researchers from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre Heart Institute analysed the cause of 4,525 detailed records of fatal cardiac arrest, and found just 34 (0.7 per cent) were as a result of sex.

Just 34 cases occurred during or within one hour of sexual intercourse.

It is because, the partners failed to immediately perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which could save more lives, the researchers said. "Over the years, we've had a fair bit of data on physical activity and how it's related to sudden cardiac arrest, but no one had looked specifically at sexual activity".

The findings of the study, whose first author was Dr. Aapo Aro - from Helsinki University Hospital - were presented yesterday at the AHA's Scientific Sessions 2017, held in Anaheim, CA. "Now we can tell them the risk is very low".

New research finds that sexual intercourse is only rarely tied to cardiac arrest, a condition that causes the heart to stop beating suddenly.

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Patients who experienced sudden cardiac arrest related to sexual activity also had a higher rate of ventricular fibrillation/tachycardia than those who did not.

Those who experienced sexual activity related sudden cardiac arrest tended to be younger, with an average age of 60.3 years, compared to an average age of 65.2 years for those who had a sudden cardiac arrest that wasn't linked to sex.

Looking at the numbers, the researchers concluded that the overall risk of cardiac arrest being triggered by sexual activity was low, and even lower for women. The vast majority were male and were more likely to be middle-aged, African-American and have a history of cardiovascular disease.

Almost 20 percent of the sex-related sudden cardiac arrest patients survived compared to just 12.9 percent of the non-sexual activity-related patients. The researchers and their teams talk to the patient who gets a heart attack and also from the relatives of some who's closed one gets died due to cardiac arrest.

Only one-third of these SCA cases received bystander CPR.

"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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