Too Much Sex Unlikely To Cause Heart Failure

Henrietta Brewer
November 13, 2017

"For the last two decades we've been working on how to predict and prevent sudden cardiac arrest".

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is when the heart suddenly stops beating. Of the nearly 5,000 sudden cardiac arrests identified by the scientists, 34 were linked to sexual activity.

Researchers led by Sumeet Chugh, MD, associate director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, analyzed data from the community-based Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study.

Researchers found that even though sexual partners were present during cardiac arrest, only one-third performed CPR, highlighting the importance of continued CPR education efforts "irrespective of the circumstance".


For a case of cardiac arrest to be considered related to sexual activity, however, it was required to have occurred either "during or within 1 hour of sexual intercourse".

"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 Chugh, the study's senior author and a highly respected expert on sudden cardiac arrest. "Now we can tell them the risk is very low". It usually causes death, if it's not treated within minutes.

FEWER than one in five men who suffer a heart attack during sex survive, research shows.

Because of the poor outcome of cardiac arrest, many who consider themselves at risk may try to avoid certain activities, such as sex, believing that they render them more exposed.


There were no significant differences in terms of cardiac disease history and medication across groups, although ventricular fibrillation and tachycardia were more common than other heart conditions.

Looking at the numbers, the researchers concluded that the overall risk of cardiac arrest being triggered by sexual activity was low, and even lower for women.

Almost 20 percent of the sex-related sudden cardiac arrest patients survived compared to just 12.9 percent of the non-sexual activity-related patients.

Only one-third of these SCA cases received bystander CPR.


There's one silver lining for people who have a cardiac arrest from sex - they're nearly twice as likely to survive, Chugh said.

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