14 November, 2017
For many men the idea of dying during or shortly after sex is considered among the best ways to go, but new research suggests it is actually quite rare.
Jokes aside, the risk of sudden cardiac arrest and death is a concern for people with heart disease - including during sex - but the chances are "extremely low", according to senior study author Sumeet Chugh, MD, medical director of the Heart Rhythm Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles. The vast majority were male and were more likely to be middle-aged, African-American and have a history of cardiovascular disease. 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.
The new findings are part of a 16-year study of heart risk factors involving about a million people living in and around Portland.
Sexual activity is rarely associated with sudden cardiac arrest, but it's men who are most at risk, and often they are not revived by their partner.
Sudden cardiac arrest kills about 350,000 people every year in the United States.
The authors also noted that less than a third of patients who had a heart attack during or just after sex received CPR, despite being with someone else at the time of the attack.
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"We observed a relatively low overall burden of [sudden cardiac arrest] related to sexual activity in the community", the study says.
What is a Heart Attack? Though almost 90 percent of those suffering cardiac arrest out of a hospital die, CPR can double or triple a person's chance of surviving, according the American Heart Association.
The research was presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association.
One in 100 cases of cardiac arrest in men was associated with sexual activity, compared with one in 1,000 cases in women.
The study also found CPR was performed in only one-third of the cardiac arrests, despite happening in the presence of another person. 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.