The prospect of going into cardiac arrest during sex is a scary thought—but research says not to sweat it.
The prospect of going into cardiac arrest while having sex is a horrific thought. It seems like a valid worry— after all, sex certainly gets the heart rate up.
But guys everywhere can now rest easy, because new research indicates that the odds of sex actually stopping a guy's heart are very low.
A study published in the November edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has some reassuring findings for men everywhere concerning sex and cardiac arrest. The researchers looked at all the cases of reported adult cardiac arrest incidents in the entire city of Portland, Oregon, from 2002 to 2015, which totaled 4,557 separate cases.
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. They found that of all the cases of cardiac arrest, only 34 cases, or 0.7%, were connected to sex.
Of the 34 cases, 32 of the cases were men. Overall, sex accounted for 1% of the reported male cases. The study also found that 94% of all males cases of cardiac arrest occurred with guys who already had a history of heart disease.
Dr. Sumeet Chugh, senior author of the study and a professor of medicine at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, told CNN that the large number of people helped strengthen the legitimacy of the study's findings. The adult population of Portland, Oregon, according to the 2010 census, was approximately 480,000, offering a massive pool of subjects.
Chugh said that similar studies tend to follow just 5,000 to 10,000 people. In cases like these, "only five or six of them will have a heart arrest. The numbers are too small. So the concept that I was fortunate enough to introduce in Portland, Oregon, was to treat the entire community as the study subjects."
While it was rare for someone to experience cardiac arrest during sex, Chugh pointed out it's still important for a partner to know what to do if it does happen.
"If this devastating event does occur, the partner should not hesitate to perform CPR since it will potentially increase the chances of survival," Chugh said.
The study found that only one-third of the guys who experienced cardiac arrest received cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR. The guys who received CPR had a higher rate of survival.