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Don't worry, sex is unlikely to trigger cardiac arrest

13 November 2017

"Over the years, we've had a fair bit of data on physical activity and how it's related to sudden cardiac arrest, but no one had looked specifically at sexual activity".

Sex was linked to only 34 out of more than 4,500 cardiac arrests that occurred in the Portland, Ore., metropolitan area between 2002 and 2015.

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.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre Heart Institute in California found that under 1% of fatal heart attacks were as a result of 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. In the category of danger of dying during sex fall male African-American origin aged over 60 years who suffer from tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation of the heart.

Because of the poor outcome of cardiac arrest, many who consider themselves at risk may try to avoid certain activities, such as sex, believing that they render them more exposed.

"Previously we would say the risk is probably low, but we don't know how low", Chugh noted.

According to the latest data available to the American Heart Association (AHA), in 2016, more than 350,000 people experienced a cardiac arrest outside of hospital, and, of these, only 12 percent survived. But 94% of those victims had a history of heart disease, NBC News reports.

Individuals who had cardiac arrest during or straight after sex only received cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) from their partner in a third of all cases, despite the fact that it can be life-saving. They have also found that in only one in three cases does the overexerted amore receive what cardiologists term "bystander CPR", but what everyone else would term "the very least a considerate lover could do".

Researchers said the findings may help inform discussions between doctors and patients on the safety of sexual activity and highlight the need to educate the public on the importance of CPR for sudden cardiac arrest.

Don't worry, sex is unlikely to trigger cardiac arrest