Sat | Apr 20, 2019

Sex rarely causes cardiac arrest - study

Published:Wednesday | November 15, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Sexual activity is rarely the cause of sudden cardiac arrest, a new study suggests.

Specifically, in more than 4,500 cases of sudden cardiac arrest in adults living in Oregon, United States, in a recent decade, only 34 cases were related to sexual activity within the preceding hour.

Sexual activity-related sudden cardiac arrest occurred in 32 men and two women. That is, one in 100 cardiac arrests in men and one in 1,000 cardiac arrests in women were related to sexual activity, the researchers report.

The study by Dr Aapo Aro (Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, Los Angeles, CA) and colleagues were presented on Sunday at the American Heart Association (AHA) 2017 Scientific Sessions and simultaneously published in a research letter in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"These findings are reassuring" for clinicians and provide data to help inform discussions with patients, senior author Dr Sumeet S Chugh (Cedars-Sinai Medical Center) noted.

Clinicians can now "base their reassurance to heart-disease patients across the spectrum on actual data", he said.

"Sexual activity is the equivalent of climbing two flights of stairs," noted AHA spokesperson Dr Nieca Goldberg, NYU School of Medicine, New York.

She says it's important for clinicians as well as patients to make sure that a discussion about resuming sexual activity is a part of the pre-discharge educational package "and certainly in the first follow-up visit" after cardiac surgery or an MI.




Sexual activity is an important aspect of quality of life and brings health and mortality benefits; however, there is no information on sexual activity as a potential trigger for sudden cardiac arrest in the general population, Aro and colleagues write.

For this report, they analysed data from individuals living in Portland who had a sudden cardiac arrest during 2002 to 2012 and were part of the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study.

The study shows the need to "increase awareness and education of CPR even in this awkward situation", Chugh said.