Scientists: Sex can't cause cardiac arrest

Ebony Scott
November 14, 2017

In August it was revealed that a heart attack during sex is eight times more likely to kill men.

The majority of people who had a heart attack during sex also had a history of other heart conditions, including higher rates of ventricular fibrillation - a serious irregular heartbeat - and tachycardia, a faster-than-normal heart rate.

"I'm a little surprised at the really tiny number", said study senior researcher Dr. Sumeet Chugh, medical director of the Heart Rhythm Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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 occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become so chaotic that the heart suddenly stops beating. "Over the years, we've had a fair bit of data on physical activity and how it's related to sudden cardiac arrest, but no one had looked specifically at sexual activity".

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The experts claimed that despite the myth that sex might cause a heart attack, especially in older men, this is not the case. Of those cardiac arrests, 32 were men.

Survival often depends on how quickly patients receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), or chest compressions, which can help restore circulation and maintain blood flow to vital organs. "Now we can tell them the risk is very low".

But overall, sex was linked to only 1 percent of all cardiac arrests that occurred in men. The researchers and their teams talk to the patient who gets a heart attack and also from the relatives of some who's closed one gets died due to cardiac arrest. The researchers determined that the low bystander CPR rate accounted for the less than 20 percent of patients who survived to hospital discharge.

The research was presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association.

"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", he added. 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.

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