Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Can Sex Trigger Cardiac Arrest?

Can Sex Trigger Cardiac Arrest?

Even though sudden cardiac arrest during sexual activity was witnessed by a partner, bystander CPR was performed in only one-third of the cases. If not treated immediately it can lead to sudden cardiac death, which results in around 350,000 deaths annually in the United States. Only 34 cases occurred during or within an hour of engaging in sex. Fear of post-sex heart failure has been bolstered by plot lines on TV shows like Mad Men, but in reality, "the risk is very small", senior author Dr. Sumeet Chugh tells NBC.

Research led by Dr. Sumeet Chugh, associate director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, showed that after reviewing more than 300,000 cardiac deaths each year in the USA, less than 1 percent were linked with having sex.

Though almost 90 percent of those suffering cardiac arrest out of a hospital die, CPR can double or triple a person's chance of surviving, according the American Heart Association.

Sexual activity is rarely associated with sudden cardiac arrest, but it's men who are most at risk, and often they are not revived by their partner.

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The figures were for sudden cardiac arrest, as opposed to a myocardial infarction, which is what is better known as a heart attack. By far most were male and will probably be moderately aged, African-American and have a past filled with cardiovascular ailment.

Overall, sudden cardiac arrest during sex accounted for less than one percent of cases in the general population, yet these differed by gender, race and other risk factors.

In addition, African Americans comprised 7.8 percent of the sudden cardiac arrests in the study, but nearly 19 percent of the sexual activity-related cardiac arrests.

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

The investigation additionally discovered CPR was performed in just a single third of the cases, regardless of them being seen by an accomplice.

When sex-related cases of cardiac arrest do occur, it's possible the patients might have had undiagnosed or untreated coronary artery disease, Menon, who wasn't involved in the study, said in a phone interview.

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