Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

Few Cases of Cardiac Arrest Occur During Sex

Few Cases of Cardiac Arrest Occur During Sex

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. In an attempt to shed light on the extent that sexual activity is a factor in triggering SCA, researchers from the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute analyzed a database detailing instances of SCAs that occurred over a 13-year timeframe between 2002 - 2015 in Portland, Oregon. For women, the rate is around one in a thousand. 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.

What was perhaps most shocking to the researchers, though, was the lack of bystander support in these cases.

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"People will ask their doctors if sex increases their risk of sudden death, and we've never had the answer before because there never was a study", said senior author Chugh. They also highlight the need to educate the public on the importance of bystander CPR for sudden cardiac arrest, irrespective of the circumstances, researchers said.

"By now, there is recognition from a lot of research that if someone is around when you have your cardiac arrest and provides CPR while the ambulance is getting there, it can be potentially lifesaving", Chugh said. It provides ventilation and chest compressions (~100-120 per minute) that can partially restore the flow of oxygenated blood to the body and brain while the heart has stopped.

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Another study looked at 246 people who had heart attacks in various scenarios and found that those who did during sex fared particularly badly. Of those, only 17 cases were linked to sexual intercourse and 229 linked to non-sexual activity, including playing sports or doing moderate exercise.

And while all the sex-triggered deaths had a partner present, CPR was only started in a third (32 per cent) of cases. For those doing more horizontal activities, 100 percent were in the presence of a bystander at the time of their arrest, but only 47 percent received bystander CPR. From all the participants to the study, only 12 percent survived. Later the scientist asked that whether sex can be called risky for the heart patients and the answer come as to be on hold.

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