Sex triggered one in 100 fatal heart attacks in men, finds analysis

Tabitha Dunn
November 14, 2017

It is known sex may trigger heart attacks.

Relax - and go back to bed.

In August it was revealed that a heart attack during sex is eight times more likely to kill men. 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 USA each year. It usually occurs without warning.

Those suffering heart attacks related to sexual activity tended to be younger, with an average age of 60.3 years, compared to an average age of 65.2 years for those whose hearts attacks weren't linked to having sex.

Cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become so chaotic that the heart suddenly stops beating. This low bystander CPR rate accounted for less than 20 per cent of patients who survived to hospital discharge, the researchers noted.

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The data, recorded from paramedic notes as part of a long-running study on sudden unexpected deaths found more than half of these happened (55 per cent) during sex, while the rest occurred within 15 minutes. Of those, only 17 cases were linked to sexual intercourse and 229 linked to non-sexual activity, including playing sports or doing moderate exercise. Details of each case were laid out in the database, which collects specific information for each patient based on emergency medical service reports. "Now we have data and we can say to them the risk is very low".

There is another lesson though; survival rates after a heart attack are much higher where chest compressions and CPR are started while waiting for an ambulance. The majority of cases were men who had a previous history of heart diseases.

Only a third of those suffering from cardiac arrest from sex received potentially life-saving CPR-despite the likelihood that a partner was around to witness the arrest. This happened mostly because only one-third of those who collapsed during received CPR, which could have increased survival chances.

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.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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