Study finds sex unlikely to cause cardiac arrest, researchers 'surprised'

Two people are seen embracing Oct. 16 2004 in New York City

Those anxious whether your heart health is strong enough for between-the-sheets sessions can now take a sigh of relief as according to a new study, heart-stopping sex is pretty uncommon.

According to the American Heart association, fewer than 10% of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests survive.

Among these cases, less than 1 percent of cardiac arrests occurred during or immediately after sexual activity, the study found.

The study also found CPR was performed in only one-third of the cardiac arrests, despite happening in the presence of another person. They were particularly more likely to have had a history of a higher-than-normal heart rate (tachycardia) or a serious heart-rhythm disturbance known as ventricular fibrillation.

But of these more than half happened during sex.

"Based on this data we now know that the likelihood of sex being a trigger for sudden cardiac arrest is extremely low", senior study author Dr. Sumeet Chugh, of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Heart Institute in Los Angeles, said by email.

Scientists say that less than 1% of people who suffered from sudden cardiac arrest were in the middle of, or just had, sex. It is not the same as a heart attack, in which blood flow to the heart is blocked.

Goldberg suggested that "doctors really should be discussing this information with their patients to allay their fears they may have after a cardiac diagnosis, that most people return safely to having sexual activity".

Sex was linked to only 34 out of more than 4,500 cardiac arrests that occurred in the Portland, Ore., metropolitan area between 2002 and 2015. Any cases that occurred during sex or within one hour were considered related to sexual activity.

"We would think that if the witness is right there everybody would get CPR", Chugh said.

On average, those who went into sudden cardiac arrest relating to sexual activity were five years younger and more likely to be African American than the rest of the cases, the study states.

Dr Chugh said: "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".

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

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