Sudden Cardiac Arrest During Or After Sex Is Uncommon, Study Finds


Sudden cardiac arrest events are rarely associated with sexual activity, but when they are survival rates are low, according to researchers.

A sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs when the heart suddenly quits beating. This typically happens without warning, and unless it’s treated immediately may result in death. There are about 350,000 sudden cardiac deaths in the U.S. every year.

It is already known that nonfatal heart events, such as a myocardial infarction can be precipitated by sexual activity, so a group of researchers wondered whether sexual activity is also a potential trigger for SCAs.

To find out, the investigators looked at the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study data - from 2002 to 2015 - to determine how often SCAs occurred, during or within 60 minutes of sexual activity, in people older than 18.

During the 13 year period examined, 4,557 SCAs occurred in Portland, and 34 of them were associated with sexual activity. On average, the 34 patients involved were middle-aged, male, and African-American with a history of cardiovascular problems. Most were taking cardiovascular medication. Those experiencing sexual activity related SCAs also had higher ventricular fibrillation/tachycardia rates than the other patients.

Though the study reveals a low incidence of SCA during or shortly after sexual encounters, the researchers noted that partners gave CPR in just a third of the sexual activity SCA cases. This is likely why fewer than 20 percent of these patients survived to hospital discharge.

“These findings highlight the importance of continued efforts to educate the public on the importance of bystander CPR for SCA, irrespective of the circumstance,” said senior study author Sumeet Chugh, M.D., associate director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.

This research report was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Source: Science Daily
Photo credit: Taber Andrew Bain


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