If you have a heart condition and are afraid that sex could trigger cardiac arrest, there’s a reason to relax. The risk of that happening is very low, according to a new study.
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute reported that only 34 out of 4,557 sudden cardiac arrests reported between 2002 and 2015 in Portland, Ore., occurred during or within one hour of sexual intercourse.
That’s less than 1%. Of those cardiac arrests, 32 were men. In most cases they were middle-aged, African-American and had a history of heart disease, according to the report.
The study also found CPR was performed in only one-third of the cardiac arrests, despite happening in the presence of another person.
“These findings highlight the importance of continued efforts to educate the public on the importance of bystander CPR for sudden cardiac arrest, irrespective of the circumstance,” said lead author Sumeet Chugh.
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.
And there’s a difference. “Heart attacks occur when there is a blockage in one or more of the arteries to the heart, preventing the heart from receiving enough oxygen-rich blood,” notes WebMD.
“Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the electrical system to the heart malfunctions and suddenly becomes very irregular … and blood is not delivered to the body. In the first few minutes, the greatest concern is that blood flow to the brain will be reduced so drastically that a person will lose consciousness. Death follows unless emergency treatment is begun immediately.”
Chugh’s findings were reported at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017 and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.