Little Chance of Truly Heart‑Stopping Sex for Any of Us

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Nov 16, 2017

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Good news! La petite mort is unlikely to cause la grand. Contrary to what we’ve seen in a few too many films, a new study has found that sudden cardiac arrest — a version of heart attack in which the heart abruptly stops pumping — is very rarely the result of having sex.

The researchers, who presented their findings at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017, pored over records on 4,557 cases of cardiac arrest in adults between 2002 and 2015 in a community in the northwestern United States. Of those cases, only 34 cases — nearly all male — occurred during or within one hour of intercourse. Researchers then calculated the odds of death-by-sex-heart-attack: One in 100 for men, and one in 1,000 for women. (The presence of heart disease and the use of heart medications was common and similar in both groups.)

These new data may help inform discussions between healthcare providers and patients on the safety of sexual activity. They also highlight the need to educate the public on the importance of bystander CPR for sudden cardiac arrest, irrespective of the circumstances, researchers said.

But one in 100 or one in 1,000 cardiac arrests — the chances are certainly slim, but not non-existent. So best to brush up on those first aid classes if you have any concerns on this front.

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Written By Lila Sahija

Lila reports on health and science news for The Swaddle. She has loved biology ever since she dissected her first frog in eighth grade, and now has a keen interest in examining human behavior. She also loves animals and takes at least one adventure a year through rural India. Oh, and she bakes a mean German coffee cake.

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