Research suggests that sudden cardiac arrest after sex is rare but deadly

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Great news! According to the results of a new study, sexual activity is very unlikely to result in a sudden cardiac arrest, especially if you are a woman. On the flip side, if you are unlucky enough to experience a not-so-happy ending, your chances of survival are pretty poor.

A sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs when the electrical system that controls the beat rate and rhythm of the heart malfunctions, causing the organ to beat dangerously fast and cease functioning effectively. If not treated immediately using cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or defibrillation, SCA and the sudden cardiac death (SCD) that follows is invariably fatal.

SCD accounts for some 350,000 fatalities in the US alone. 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.

The researchers identified 4,557 cases of SCAs, of which only 34, or 0.7 percent occurred during or within one hour of sexual activity. Of these cases, 94 percent of the patients were male. It was discovered that the average patient who suffered an SCA in this scenario was more likely to be middle-aged, African-American, and have a history of cardiovascular disease, and so regularly take corresponding medication.

Whilst the analysis showed that instances of SCA linked to sexual activity were rare, it also highlighted a high rate of mortality in these cases. Only 20 percent of the 34 patients identified in the study survived, in part, the researchers believe, because CPR was only administered to one third of the individuals who experienced an SCA, despite the fact that a partner was there to witness the event.

Further efforts to educate the public on the application of CPR in all circumstances could save countless lives, including your partner’s, and we’re sure it’ll help you sleep (or not) with an easy mind.

A paper detailing the research has been published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Source: American Heart Association

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