STOPPING SEX: Study finds cardiac arrest unlikely during sexual intercourse

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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.

Cardiac arrest results in more than 300,000 deaths each year in the United States alone, the researchers say.

Cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become so chaotic that the heart suddenly stops beating.

We were pleasantly surprised to see how low it was.

It also found that sudden fatal heart attacks among people with a pre-existing heart condition were not significantly more likely to be triggered by sex.

The American Heart Association reports that more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the US each year.

Chugh said sexual activity as a sudden cardiac arrest trigger was studied primarily because it hadn't been looked at previously.

In fact, only 1 in 100 men and 1 in 1,000 women experience sudden cardiac arrest during sexual activity, according to the recent data. The aerobic activity associated with sex is equivalent to climbing two flights of stairs, explained Dr. Nieca Goldberg.

The safety of sex comes up from time to time with patients who've suffered a heart attack or have been diagnosed with a heart problem, Goldberg and Gulati said.

This, they said, explains the low survival rates from those who collapse in bed.

There's one silver lining for people who have a cardiac arrest from sex - they're nearly twice as likely to survive, Chugh said.

More of the individuals who experienced a sex-related sudden cardiac arrest survived the event than those whose heart stopped in other situations (19 percent versus 13 percent), but that difference wasn't significant, the researchers stress.

Though all patients included in the study had their sudden cardiac arrest witnessed by another person, less than a third received CPR.

The study is scheduled to be presented Sunday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif. 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. It will also be published simultaneously in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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