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Sexual activity rarely a heart-stopping activity
14 November 2017, 12:22 | Rodolfo Wallace
Fewer than one in five men who suffer cardiac arrest during sex survive — because their partners do not know CPR
Engaging in sex is rarely a heart-stopping activity, according to a new study.
"People will ask their doctors if sex increases their risk of sudden death, and we've never had the answer before because there never was a study", said Chugh, the study's senior author and a highly respected expert on sudden cardiac arrest. 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.
Overall, sudden cardiac arrest during sex accounted for less than one percent of cases in the general population, yet these differed by gender, race and other risk factors. All reported cases were based on emergency medical service reports containing detailed information regarding the cause of the cardiac arrest.
Anxious whether your heart health is strong enough for sex?
It is not the same as a heart attack, in which blood flow to the heart is blocked.
The study hence concludes that 1% of the cardiac arrest happens because of sex in men where the percentage is 0.1% in women. "Now we can tell them the risk is very low".
The bad news is that if you do suffer cardiac arrest from an amorous encounter, there's a decent chance your partner will just let you croak.
Even though all patients included in the study had their sudden cardiac arrest witnessed by another person, less than a third received CPR.
Patients who experienced sudden cardiac arrest linked to sexual activity had higher rates of ventricular fibrillation - a serious cardiac rhythm disturbance - and tachycardia, a higher-than-normal heart rate. However, a closer look at the study presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association revealed another far more reassuring statistic.
The average age was 60.3 years for people who had a heart attack during sex, compared to 65.2 years for sudden cardiac arrest not linked to the activity. Almost 20 percent of people survived in sex-related cases, compared to only about 13 percent survival odds for other patients. But it again highlights the need to educate the public about the importance of CPR for sudden cardiac arrest-which is when an electrical glitch in the heart causes it to stop beating.
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