Men more likely to suffer rare cardiac arrest during sex compared to women, study finds

Sex rarely causes the heart to stop. In fact, the odds that you’ll suffer a sudden cardiac arrest during sex are less than 1 percent.

But those odds are higher for men than women.

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That's according to new research presented Sunday at an American Heart Association conference in Anaheim, California.

Previous studies have looked at sex and heart attacks, which are caused by a clot suddenly restricting blood flow and usually give people enough time to get professional treatment at a hospital.

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But study author Sumeet Chugh, a cardiologist at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, said his team wanted to know how sex affected the odds of the more fatal issue of cardiac arrest, which occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping.

The researchers examined records on more than 4,500 cardiac arrests over 13 years in the Portland, Oregon area, and found only 34 suffered sudden cardiac arrests during or within an hour of having sex (0.7 percent). Thirty-two of those cases were in men, most of whom were already taking medications for heart conditions, meaning their risk was elevated to begin with.

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Only 0.1 percent of women who suffered sudden cardiac arrests were triggered by sex.

"It's a very awkward situation, and a very horrifying situation to be one of the two people who survives," but more would survive if CPR rates were higher, Chugh told the Associated Press.

ExploreRead the full study in the “Journal of the American College of Cardiology.”

According to the American Heart Association, approximately 88 percent of cardiac arrests occur at home. But about 70 percent of Americans either don't know how to administer CPR or their CPR training has significantly lapsed.

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Additionally, black men and women are almost twice as likely to experience cardiac arrest at home, work or in another public location than white people, and their survival rates are twice as poor as well.

ExploreTo learn about CPR training and find a training center near you, visit