Dispelling a common myth, researchers have found that engaging in sexual activity could be safe for most heart patients.
Both heart patients and partners may have misconceptions about the perceived dangers of sexual activities and commonly restrict their activities.
“Our extensive literature review enabled us to dismiss several myths regarding the advisability of sexual activity in heart patients,” said lead author Ricardo Stein from Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
“Overall, the risk of death during sex is very low for most clinically stable heart patients, and interestingly, even much lower for the women,” Stein noted.
Counseling regarding how to gradually resume habitual sexual activity is critical for patients who have experienced a cardiac event or undergone a cardiac procedure, the researchers said.
Sexual activity, particularly coitus, is a major aspect of health-related quality of life and is often considered the most pleasant and rewarding form of exercise performed.
The study pointed out that sexual activity is typically well-tolerated by most clinically stable heart patients, who are advised to participate in exercise programmes as part of their recovery plan.
Occurrence of sudden cardiac death is very rare, corresponding to less than two of all exercise-related deaths, the findings showed.
The study equated various sexual activities with walking at different speeds, noting for example that orgasm is equivalent to a brisk walk across a street.
The researchers recommended that healthcare providers should offer professional sexual activity advice to heart patients to improve their quality of life.
The study was published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.