Will Sex Kill You? Scientists Probe Link Between Sexual Activity, Cardiac Arrest

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

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

African Americans comprised 7.8 percent of the heart attacks in the study, but nearly 19 percent of the sexual activity-related cardiac arrests. In most cases they were middle-aged, African American and had a history of heart disease, according to the report.

"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.

Research led by Dr. Sumeet Chugh, associate director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, showed that after reviewing more than 300,000 cardiac deaths each year in the USA, less than 1 percent were linked with having sex.

In total, the scientists identified 4,557 SCAs in Portland during the 13-year study period. A 2011 study by researchers at Harvard found that sex is easier than working out on a treadmill - and the heart rates of the men in the study rarely rose above 130 beats a minute. Of those cardiac arrests, 32 were men.

Limitations to the study included unknown information surrounding the frequency of sexual activity, so researchers could not determine relative risk compared to rest and physical activity.

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But overall, sex was linked to only 1 percent of all cardiac arrests that occurred in men.

It is not the same as a heart attack, in which blood flow to the heart is blocked. 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.

About 19 percent of the patients in sex-related cardiac arrest cases survived their ordeal, compared with an average survival rate of around 10 percent nationwide, he said.

Chugh and colleagues reported their findings at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions meeting in Anaheim, California, and online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The study also found CPR was performed in only one-third of the cases, despite them being witnessed by a partner.

"This highlights the importance of continued efforts to educate the public on the importance of CPR, no matter the circumstance", Chugh said.

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