Dying from a heart attack while having sex is rare

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

In a new study from the St George’s University of London, researchers found that people dying from a heart attack during or soon after having sex is rare.

Movies and television shows have often depicted characters, particularly older males, having a heart attack and dying while in the throes of passion.

In this study, the researchers looked into the risk of death from a heart attack due to the passion and energy associated with sex.

They checked patient records at St George’s cardiac pathology center for examples of people dying during sex and totaling them.

After looking at 6,847 patients dying (over the prior 16 years) of a sudden heart attack, they found that only 17 of them occurred either during or within one hour of engaging in sexual intercourse, a rate of just 0.2%.

The team notes that 11 of those 17 cases were male, but they were not old. The average age was just 38.

The researchers note that their results contradict prior studies showing that most such deaths happen with older men.

But they found that most of the younger men who died of a heart attack while having sex had a pre-existing heart condition.

More specifically, they found that nine of the deceased patients had no heart problem at all—their hearts simply stopped beating, a phenomenon known as a sudden arrhythmic death syndrome.

And two of them died due to aortic dissection, in which, as it sounds, the aorta tears and the heart becomes starved for blood and oxygen and stops beating.

The researchers note that this happens most commonly in people that over-exercise or take illegal drugs such as cocaine that tax the heart.

They also note that they found more deaths in women than were expected.

The researchers conclude that most people, and particularly older people, do not have to worry about having a heart attack and dying while having sex.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about new way to repair human heart, and hormone that could help reduce irregular heartbeat, inflammation.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about simple exercise that could strongly benefit people with heart problems, and results showing one cup of these vegetables a day can lower heart disease risk.

The study is published in JAMA Cardiology. One author of the study is Gherardo Finocchiaro.

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