Sex triggered one in 100 fatal heart attacks in men, finds analysis

Image Shutterstock  Edw

Image Shutterstock Edw

If not treated immediately it can lead to sudden cardiac death, which results in around 350,000 deaths annually in the United States.

The researchers noted that sudden cardiac arrest kills more than 300,000 people in the US every year and physical activity, particularly when the person is not accustomed to it, is linked to a higher risk of the condition.

The figures were for sudden cardiac arrest, as opposed to a myocardial infarction, which is what is better known as a heart attack. The risk of that happening is very low, according to a new study.

Research has found men are far more likely to suffer a sudden cardiac arrest and keel over during or after sex than women.

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Even though all the cases of SCA the researchers included were brought on by partnered sex-meaning they were all witnessed by someone-in only one-third of them did that partner attempt CPR. From all these cases, only 34 of them took place either during sex or soon after.

Out of these only 34 were during or within an hour of having sex, and 32 of those were men, who were already taking drugs for heart conditions.

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. That means that sex is linked to only about one in a hundred cases of cardiac arrest in men.

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.

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"Sexual activity is just one variable in the whole big picture" of cardiac risks, but one that hasn't been studied in depth, Chugh added. The majority of cases were men with a previous history of cardiovascular disease.

Almost 20 percent of the sex-related sudden cardiac arrest patients survived compared to just 12.9 percent of the non-sexual activity-related patients. According to the study, the low bystander CPR rate accounted for less than 20 percent of patients who survived to hospital discharge.

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".

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