Does Sex Trigger Sudden Cardiac Arrest? Only Rarely

  • Does Sex Trigger Sudden Cardiac Arrest? Only Rarely

Does Sex Trigger Sudden Cardiac Arrest? Only Rarely

Now Sumeet Chugh, one of the study's authors, has some "happy news" to tell his nervous patients.

These new data may help inform discussions between healthcare providers and patients on the safety of sexual activity.

Cardiac arrest results in more than 300,000 deaths each year in the United States alone, the researchers say.

The vast majority of cardiac arrest patients suffer heart attacks outside of intercourse.

Previous studies have confirmed sex can trigger non-fatal cardiac events like heart attacks, but Chugh and colleagues designed their study to determine whether or not sexual activity is a risk factor for SCA in particular, since the condition accounts for 350,000 deaths in the US each year. The data showed that 34 of these cases were sex-related, and a lot of them involved men who had a history of heart diseases.

For their study, Chugh and his colleagues used data from the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study, which has been collecting information on sudden cardiac arrest cases in the Portland metropolitan area since 2002.

Only 34 of those sudden cardiac arrests - 0.7 percent - occurred during or within an hour of the person engaging in sex.

Under one percent of people studied experienced sudden cardiac arrest during (or immediately after) sexual activity, about 34 people out of the 4,500. In one case, the timing could not be determined.

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. "We have so many tools to prolong people's lives, we want them to have a good quality of life, returning to exercise, eating a healthy diet and returning to sexual activity". "It's not that we are preoccupied by sex".

That's about equivalent to walking up two flights of stairs.

Survival rates are low, and partners' embarrassment to perform CPR or call an ambulance could be to blame. But it turns out only a third of the subjects got CPR.

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

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