But the study found that only a third of people who collapse during sex are likely to receive CPR from their partner.
The study was based on data from the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study, a collection of emergency medical service reports that contain detailed information on the causes and factors of cardiac arrest. Of these, 34 (0.7 percent) of SCAs were linked to sexual activity.
"People will ask their doctors if sex increases their risk of sudden death, and we've never had the answer before because there never was a study", Dr. Sumeet Chugh, the lead author of the study and the associate director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, said in a statement.
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.
About 19 percent of the patients in sex-related cardiac arrest cases survived their ordeal, compared with an average survival rate of around 10 percent nationwide, he said.
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Existing research had linked sexual activity to heart attacks, and researchers wanted to test the prevalence of sex-induced SCAs.
In an earlier article about sex and heart attack, a U.S. cardiologist puts the absolute risk of heart attack for a 50-year-old man who exercises regularly at one chance in a million per hour. The risk of that happening is very low, according to a new study. By far most were male and will probably be moderately aged, African-American and have a past filled with cardiovascular ailment.
Cardiac arrest results in more than 300,000 deaths each year in the USA alone, the researchers say. Almost 20 percent of people survived in sex-related cases, compared to only about 13 percent survival odds for other patients.
It is known sex may trigger heart attacks.
"This highlights the importance of continued efforts to educate the public on the importance of CPR, no matter the circumstance", Chugh said. Bystanders performed chest compressions on 27 percent of the non-sexual activity patients, while 32 percent of the patients who had heart attacks during or right after sex received CPR.
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