Sex As Cause For Cardiac Arrest Extremely Rare, Study Finds

A common fear for those with heart maladies, not to mention the partners and spouses of said individuals, is that death by heart stoppage — referred to as a cardiac arrest — will occur during the excitable stages of, especially during and immediately after, sex. A new study has revealed that there is very little to worry about, because research has shown that, contrary to popular opinion (and oft-recurring salacious storylines generated by Hollywood and bestselling authors), cardiac arrest occurring that is directly attributable to sex is extremely rare.

In fact, CNN reports that a study conducted by researchers from Cedar-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles found that, after poring over adult medical records from patients in Portland, Oregon encompassing a decade-and-a-half (2002-2015), less than one percent of the patients died during or shortly after having sex. The two acts — sex and cardiac arrest — rarely happen in tandem. To be precise, research indicated that of the 4,557 cardiac arrests identified in the research, only 0.6 percent (32) men and 0.1 percent (2) women presented with a stoppage of the heart (cardiac arrest is defined as the occurrence of the heart’s discontinuation of beating due to a short circuit in the organ’s electrical system) during sex and in the immediate aftermath (considered a period of one hour where death could be directly attributed to the sexual act itself).

This is especially good news for those who fear that sex might trigger cardiac arrest. According to Dr. Sumeet Chugh, senior author of the study and a professor of medicine at Cedars-Sinai, only 10 percent of those who experience a cardiac arrest survive the event.

man having heart attack
Cardiac arrests, or sudden heart stoppage, is rarely attributable to being caused by sex, study finds. [Image by Alex Mit/Shutterstock]

The research did show that those who had succumbed to cardiac arrest more often as not had histories of heart trouble and were on various medications. The 34 deaths were not relegated to a narrow age grouping, ranging from the relatively young (34 years of age) to the relatively aged (83-years-old).

Of the 34, only about one-third of the victims received cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Dr. Chugh suggested that providing CPR in the event of cardiac arrest would potentially increase a victim’s chances of survival.

Still, the study may do even more to assuage the fears of spouses and partners who fear engaging in sex with their significant others, those who are wary that the act might be a precursor to possibly causing their deaths, or, at the very least, causing more heart-related problems.

Dr. Michael J. Ackerman, a professor of medicine, pediatrics, and pharmacology at the Mayo Clinic (and uninvolved with the study), told CNN that those worried about the safety of engaging in sex after a cardiac event could now be reassured that the act itself poses little danger to the sufferer. Noting that patients themselves are often anxious about resuming sex, Ackerman said that many ask about how active they can be, fearing that exercise and sex might cause a follow-up event.

“They’re picturing the fatal event is going to happen if he becomes active again sexually,” he said.

The study, he noted, was “a wonderful answer for those who love sex.”

[Featured Image by Oleksandr Nagaiets/Shutterstock]