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Wednesday 26th June 2019

'Sex is safe,' heart patients told

24th January 2012

Sex is safe for most heart patients, according to a recent US report.


The researchers were surprised to find that, as long as someone was healthy enough to ascend two flights of stairs, sex was a safe option, even if the patient had heart disease.

Sex is one of the most pressing issues for heart attack survivors and people who have heart disease, and the report is the first scientific attempt to assuage the worries of doctors and patients.

Lead author Glenn Levine, a professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said that sex was something all doctors and heart patients should talk about.

He said that difficulties talking about sex, or lack of information, seemed to hinder communication between doctors and patients.

But people should also do cardiac rehabilitation before engaging in any sexual activity.

Cardiac rehabilitation consists of monitored exercise, in which patients get their heart health back up to a certain basic minimum.

The doctor's group responsible for publishing the report wrote that married men having affairs with younger women had the highest risk of sex-related sudden death.

They wrote that sex would probably be all right up to one week after a mild heart attack, when a patient should be able to ascend a few flights of stairs without discomfort.

Viagra was generally safe for men who had stable heart disease, they concluded.

The researchers wrote that the risk of having a heart attack during sexual activity was two to three times higher than when not having sexual activity.

Levine said that sex only accounted for about 1% of a person's heart attack risk, for a first heart attack.

The increased risk for heart attack survivors was also minimal.

Keith Churchwell, a chief medical officer of Vanderbilt University in the US, said that, in his practice, questions about sex were some of the most common.

Martha Gulati, a heart specialist at Ohio State University, said that the study was correct in its emphasis on sexual counselling for couples hoping to resume lovemaking.

Dan Fintel, a professor of medicine at Northwestern University in the US, said that resuming sexual activity was safe and actually counted as part of the post-heart attack healing process.

He said that he routinely gave patients a sex talk after they had been in hospital.

Tammy Collins, a day-care operator in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, who is one of Gulati's patients, said she developed heart attack symptoms a few hours after having sex.

She said Gulati told her it was unlikely that her lovemaking had caused the heart attack.


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