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Can Sex cause sudden cardiac arrest ?

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23 Aug, 2018

Cardiac arrest is like a sudden power break down for the body. There are several reasons for the same and sexual activity was believed to be one such cause. Recent studies have concluded that cardiac arrests have nothing or very little to do with sex.

This said issue was discussed at large during the American Heart Association’s Scientific Session 2017, a platform for the clinicians and researchers to exchange views on cardiovascular issues. There was a strong agreement of the very little/no no role of sexual activity leading to cardiac issue, which at times is  wrongly painted by some movies and thereby create misconceptions regarding the extent of risk involved.

Case Study of cardiac arrests during sex acts

Portland survey is worth a reference here. A survey report described that only 34 cardiac arrests cases reported during sexual activities out of more than 4,500 in Portland, Oregano. The reported cases were in the metropolitan area between 2002 and 2015. Research has  highlighted the fact that only 0.7 percent cardiac arrests attributed to the sexual activities. Out of those 34 cases, 18 were reported during sex and 15 after the act of sexual intercourse, while the timing of 1-case was unknown.

Doctors were surprised at such a low number of cardiac arrest reports associated with sexual activity. However, heart surgeons and physicians were satisfied with this reassuring data. There is more good news in this regard for women. They are relatively safer than their male counterparts. Out of the small numbers of cardiac arrests reported during sex, most were males (94%).

Doctors’ Opinion

For most of the heart patients, this is welcome news, as many were abstaining from sex. They were living under the fear of cardiac arrests and its dangerous debilitating effects. With the current data in hands, Doctors can tell patients that sexual activity has a ‘very low risk’ for causing cardiac arrests.

Due to limited data earlier on, Doctors were unsure about this. They also found the brighter side for people who had a cardiac arrest during sex  - that they are almost twice more likely to survive. As per reports, 19 percent of the patients in sex-related cardiac arrest cases survived their ordeal, compared with the 10 percent in ordinary cardiac arrest cases nationwide.

Dr. Nieca Goldberg, director of the NYU Center for Women's Health affirmed that sex is not a vigorous act as people believed it to be. Two flights of easy climbs by the heart patient was fine for the heart patients’ sexual fitness. Dr. Goldberg suggested all the doctors to discuss this information with their patients to ward off their fears of having cardiac issues during the act. When the fear is gone, most of the patients can return to their normal sex life.

Dr. Martha Gulati, chief of cardiology for the University Of Arizona College Of Medicine, observed that sex is a normal act, unlike the people who believe it to be intense. Lack of data on this area also incited doctors to take a safe route.

Doctors now believe that sex is generally safe for the most heart patients unless they are unable to maintain minimum physical activities at home or away from it. Further efforts to educate the public on the application of CardioPulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) under all circumstances could also save countless lives. That would include your partner's life too.  Yet only one-third of those witnesses in the study attempted CPR, which suggests a continuing need for public awareness on the importance of CPR.

We would follow up on Cardio pulmonary resuscitation in our upcoming blogs on JUST MEDICAL ADVICE.