Sex rarely makes heart stop, study shows

Tuesday, 14 Nov, 2017

It's a common Hollywood trope - an older guy is having enthusiastic sex with a gal half his age when he suddenly flops over dead.

While it is known that sex can trigger heart attacks, Cedars-Sinai research is said to be the first to look at sexual activity as a cause for cardiac arrest.

94% of heart attacks during sex happen to men, according to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Almost 20 percent of people survived in sex-related cases, compared to only about 13 percent survival odds for other patients.

Odds of CPR were better, however, in sex-related cases. Time couldn't be determined for the last case. "But mostly I feel it's reassuring data". In most cases they were middle-aged, African American and had a history of heart disease, according to the report. And being physically fit could cut those risks even lower. "Now we can tell them the risk is very low".

All of the patients in the study had their cardiac arrest witnessed by another person, but less than one third of them received CPR.

Sex resulting in death after a heart attack is a highly unlikely scenario, scientists have deduced. Just two of the 34 cardiac arrest patients were female, the findings showed. They think men might have a bigger overall risk, or maybe some other factors were involved which the study didn't account for. In cases like these, "only five or six of them will have a heart arrest".

Recently the Network spread a myth that people with disorders of the heart can't do physical exertion, including sexual activity. She is director of the NYU Center for Women's Health and an AHA spokeswoman. "It's not that we are preoccupied by sex".

This was slightly higher than the 27 per cent of non-sex triggered heart attacks, the difference was not statistically significant and those individuals might have died alone.

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

During sudden cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating and stops sending oxygen-rich blood to organs like the brain.

Just 34 out of the 4,557 heart failures inspected happened amid or inside one hour of sex and 32 of those influenced were men.

He said it shows the need for people to be educated about how to administer CPR.