But it can't give a more detailed risk analysis on how likely sex is to trigger a heart attack compared with resting or other activity without knowing how frequently these people were having sex. Sudden cardiac arrest is, more often than not, fatal, and it requires immediate specialized attention in order for the worst outcome to be prevented.
"People will ask their doctors if sex increases their risk of sudden death, and we've never had the answer", said senior author Sumeet Chugh, an expert on sudden cardiac arrest with Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, according to NBC.
Because of the poor outcome of cardiac arrest, many who consider themselves at risk may try to avoid certain activities, such as sex, believing that they render them more exposed.
"This is the first study evaluating this particular topic", he said. More than 4,500 cases since 2002 were examined as part of the study, and only 34 cases occurred during or within an hour of engaging in sex.
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Even though all the cases of SCA the researchers included were brought on by partnered sex-meaning, they were all witnessed by someone-in only one-third of them did that partner attempt CPR. For women, only 0.1 percent of cardiac arrest events were due to sex.
African Americans comprised 7.8 percent of the sudden cardiac arrests in the study, but nearly 19 percent of the sexual activity-related cardiac arrests.
Another finding from the new study: Just one-third of people who collapsed during or after sexual intercourse received CPR "despite the fact that you are usually guaranteed a bystander", in such cases, Chugh said. The majority of cases were men who had a previous history of heart diseases.
Still, while these results are reassuring, Dr. Aro and colleagues highlight the necessity of educating the general population about the importance of CPR, as well as knowing how to perform this procedure correctly.