Cardiac patients anxious about the risks of sex to their health can feel comfortable being intimate: the chances of a heart attack from sexual activity are extremely small, according to the results of a new study.
Scientists say the key to surviving is calling the emergency services immediately and starting treatment.
The researchers noted that sudden cardiac arrest kills more than 300,000 people in the us every year and physical activity, particularly when the person is not accustomed to it, is linked to a higher risk of the condition.
They found that of all the cases of cardiac arrest, only 34 cases, or 0.7%, were connected to sex. "Now we can tell them the risk is very low".
During sudden cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating and stops sending oxygen-rich blood to organs like the brain.
Sumeet Chugh, of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, said his study is the first to evaluate sexual activity as a potential trigger of cardiac arrest. A new study published this weekend shows that even though the chance of suffering a heart attack while having sex is greater for men than women, it's still pretty rare overall.
The researchers then identified which cases were connected to sex, which they classified as an event that occurred within an hour of the sex itself.
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.
Sex resulting in death after a heart attack is a highly unlikely scenario, scientists have deduced.
Of the 34 cases, 32 of the cases were men.
Cardiac arrest results in more than 300,000 deaths each year in the USA alone, the researchers say.
This differs from a heart attack, where blood flow to the heart is blocked. This low bystander CPR rate accounted for less than 20 per cent of patients who survived to hospital discharge, the researchers noted.
"These findings highlight the importance of continued efforts to educate the public on the importance of bystander CPR for SCA, irrespective of the circumstance", Chugh added. It was discovered that the average patient who suffered an SCA in this scenario was more likely to be middle-aged, African-American, and have a history of cardiovascular disease, and so regularly take corresponding medication.