Resuming sexual activity doesn’t trigger heart attacks, study finds
Sex is rarely the cause of a heart attack and patients should be encouraged to resume their sexual activity following a cardiac episode, according to research published by The Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
“Based on our data, it seems very unlikely that sexual activity is a relevant trigger of heart attack,” lead study author Dr. Dietrich Rothenbacher said in a news release. “It is important to reassure patients that they need not be worried and should resume their usual sexual activity.”
Researchers asked 536 heart disease patients to report their level of sexual activity in the year leading up to their heart attack, and then followed up with these patients over the next 10 years. While 100 additional adverse cardiovascular events did occur within this group of patients, it was determined that sexual activity was not a risk factor for these subsequent adverse events.
Additionally, researchers found that only 0.7 percent of patients reported sex within an hour before their heart attack, while over 78 percent reported that their last sexual activity occurred more than 24 hours before their heart attack.
“Once patients are able to climb two flights of stairs without symptoms, they are safe to resume sex with their usual partner,” says Dr. Dory Jarzabkowski, cardiologist with Advocate Heart Institute at BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill. “They do need to be cautioned not to combine medications for erectile dysfunction with nitrates for heart disease because the combination can lead to an unsafe drop in blood pressure.”
About the Author
Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.