Sex rarely causes hearts to stop, finds new research

Bryan Strickland
November 14, 2017

Even though sudden cardiac arrest during sexual activity was witnessed by a partner, bystander CPR was performed in only one-third of the cases.

Scientists say the key to surviving is calling the emergency services immediately and starting treatment.

Those who experienced sexual activity related sudden cardiac arrest tended to be younger, with an average age of 60.3 years, compared to an average age of 65.2 years for those who had a sudden cardiac arrest that wasn't linked to sex. Most of the incidents - around 94 percent - occurred in men around 60 years old on average, according to the study presented during the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions meeting California on November 12.

Researchers examined data on 4,557 adults who died from a sudden cardiac arrest, which is essentially a short circuit in the heart's electrical system.

The team on this research looked at the timing of sudden cardiac arrest in the cases they studied, pulled from a database with 13 years of reports on the medical events in Portland, Oregon, to find if the cardiac issues occurred during sex or within minutes after the sex ended.

About one in 1,000 women will experience sudden cardiac arrest during sexual activity and compared to one in 100 for men.

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American scientists from the Institute for the study of the heart in Los Angeles, headed by Samit Chu said that sex can't cause cardiac arrest. By far most were male and will probably be moderately aged, African-American and have a past filled with cardiovascular ailment.

Sudden cardiac arrest kills about 350,000 people every year in the United States.

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. This low bystander CPR rate accounted for less than 20 per cent of patients who survived to hospital discharge, the researchers noted. They also highlight the need to educate the public on the importance of bystander CPR for sudden cardiac arrest, irrespective of the circumstances, researchers said.

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.

Of the cardiac patients playing sports or exercising at the time of their arrest, almost all (95 percent) were in the presence of bystanders at the time and 80 percent received CPR from bystanders before getting to the hospital.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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