How heart-stopping is sex, really?

How heart-stopping is sex, really?

How heart-stopping is sex, really?

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.

Research led by Dr. Sumeet Chugh, associate director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, showed that after reviewing more than 300,000 cardiac deaths each year in the US, less than 1 percent were linked with having sex.

Too much effort is usually bad for the heart, and some might be afraid they might suffer a cardiac arrest right in the middle of the enjoyable activity. "Now we have data and we can say to them the risk is very low".

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is when the heart suddenly stops beating. Of those, only 17 cases were linked to sexual intercourse and 229 linked to non-sexual activity, including playing sports or doing moderate exercise.

Dr Sumeet Chugh, senior study author and associate director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute said: "Even though SCA during sexual activity was witnessed by a partner, bystander CPR was performed in only one-third of the cases".

The study also showed that patients whose heart attacks were linked to sexual activity had higher rates of ventricular fibrillation - a serious cardiac rhythm disturbance - and tachycardia, a higher-than-normal heart rate.

The study hence concludes that 1% of the cardiac arrest happens because of sex in men where the percentage is 0.1% in women.

In addition, African Americans comprised 7.8 percent of the sudden cardiac arrests in the study, but nearly 19 percent of the sexual activity-related cardiac arrests. The researchers determined that the low bystander CPR rate accounted for the less than 20 percent of patients who survived to hospital discharge.

Most of the victims of sex-induced heart stoppages were taking cardiovascular medications, an indication that these people had a history of heart problems - as opposed to dying during sex with no warning.

The doctors behind the new research, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, have stressed the importance of public education on CPR "irrespective of circumstance".

There are many unknown variables that could have affected the data (drug use or frequency of sex, for example) but all things considered, sex-induced SCA is rare enough that most people shouldn't worry about it.

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