Your next romp with a paramour may blow your mind, but it’s unlikely to stop your heart, according to research presented this weekend at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017 in Anaheim, California.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that if you do suffer cardiac arrest from an amorous encounter, there’s a decent chance your partner will just let you croak.
In an analysis of 4,557 adult cases of cardiac arrest in a Northwestern US community between 2002 and 2015, only 34 of them occurred during or within an hour of sexual intercourse. Of those, 32 were in men. That means that sex is linked to only about one in a hundred cases of cardiac arrest in men. For women, the rate is around one in a thousand.
Only a third of those suffering from cardiac arrest from sex received potentially life-saving CPR—despite the likelihood that a partner was around to witness the arrest. That’s lower than the overall rate of CPR for those who suffer cardiac arrest out of a hospital, which is 46 percent. And that overall stat includes many cases where no bystanders are around during an arrest to give CPR.
The study, led by Dr. Aapo Aro, of Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, may put some minds at ease about the risks of sex. But it again highlights the need to educate the public about the importance of CPR for sudden cardiac arrest—which is when an electrical glitch in the heart causes it to stop beating. (This is opposed to a heart attack, which is when the heart keeps beating but a blockage prevents blood flow and the heart tissue is deprived of oxygen. That said, heart attacks can lead to cardiac arrest.)
CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is vital during a cardiac arrest. 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. Though nearly 90 percent of those suffering cardiac arrest out of a hospital die, CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of surviving, according the American Heart Association.
In August, researchers in France also reported that cardiac arrests from sexual intercourse appeared to be rare—but when it did happen, people were unlikely to get CPR. In that study, researchers looked at 3,028 cases of sudden cardiac arrest where the patient arrived at a hospital alive. Of those, only 17 cases were linked to sexual intercourse and 229 linked to non-sexual activity, including playing sports or doing moderate exercise.
Of the cardiac patients playing sports or exercising at the time of their arrest, nearly all (95 percent) were in the presence of bystanders at the time and 80 percent received CPR from bystanders before getting to the hospital. 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. As such, 50 percent of the physically active patients survived, while only about 12 percent of the sexually active patients made it.
Together, researchers suggest that CPR training is clearly warranted, but the worry that friskiness can halt a heart is not.
The new study also falls in line with previous research on sex and heart attacks. In a 2011 meta-analysis in JAMA, Tufts University researchers found that an hour of love-making a week raised absolute risk of a heart attack only a teeny amount—between two to three per 100,000 person years. And being physically fit could cut those risks even lower.
More Info: arstechnica.com