The age range of the patients who suffered arrest during sex was 34 to 83.
To determine whether sexual activity might trigger sudden cardiac arrest, researchers examined records on 4,557 cases of cardiac arrest in adults between 2002 and 2015 in a community in the northwestern United States. Despite these sexual activity related SCA events being witnessed by a partner, bystander CPR was performed in only one-third of cases. She is director of the NYU Center for Women's Health and an AHA spokeswoman. It's possible, he said, that men have more underlying risks or that some took risky medications or supplements that did not show up in the study.
"The findings are reassuring", for people with heart disease concerned that sex might be unsafe, said senior author Sumeet Chugh, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles. Additionally, 29% of the patients had a positive cardiovascular history and 26% had symptomatic heart failure.
The researchers say that the findings may help inform discussions between healthcare providers and patients on the safety of sexual activity.
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There's one silver lining for people who have a cardiac arrest from sex - they're nearly twice as likely to survive, Chugh said.
According to researchers, although cardiac arrest during sex is not a common phenomenon, the importance of performing CPR on these patients can not be more emphasized.
"By now, there is recognition from a lot of research that if someone is around when you have your cardiac arrest and provides CPR while the ambulance is getting there, it can be potentially lifesaving", Chugh said. Due to embarrassment or shock or other reasons, only one third of the victims whose attacks were witnessed by their sexual partner actually received life saving CPR.
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