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Men more at risk of rare heart attack after sex

13 November 2017

Anxious whether your heart health is strong enough for sex?

Heart-stopping sex is rare, but when it occurs it usually happens to a man, says one of the first large studies to examine sudden cardiac arrest during or just after sex.

The study hence concludes that 1% of the cardiac arrest happens because of sex in men where the percentage is 0.1% in women.

Dr Sumeet Chugh, senior study author and associate director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute said: "Even though SCA during sexual activity was witnessed by a partner, bystander CPR was performed in only one-third of the cases".

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For a case of cardiac arrest to be considered related to sexual activity, however, it was required to have occurred either "during or within 1 hour of sexual intercourse". All reported cases were based on emergency medical service reports containing detailed information regarding the cause of the cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is, more often than not, fatal, and it requires immediate specialized attention in order for the worst outcome to be prevented. "The risk is very small".

Research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2017 contradicts a TV and movie myth that having sex is a common trigger for myocardial infarction or cardiac arrest.

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

Perhaps even more surprisingly, people who experienced SEX-SCA were typically younger than expected, at approximately 60 years.

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It is known that sexual activity can trigger heart attacks, but the the link with cardiac arrest was previously unknown. The vast majority were male and were more likely to be middle-aged, African-American and have a history of cardiovascular disease. Just 12% of patients in the study survived.

And while all the sex-triggered deaths had a partner present, CPR was only started in a third (32 per cent) of cases. 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.

"These findings highlight the importance of continued efforts to educate the public on the importance of bystander CPR for SCA, irrespective of the circumstance".

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Men more at risk of rare heart attack after sex