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Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Men with chronic heart failure can have active sex lives
Date:10/4/2007

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Although medication can help extend the lives of men with chronic heart failure, several factors associated with this disease can interfere with a persons ability to engage in and enjoy sexual activities. Fatigue, depression, medication side effects and the fear of damaging the heart can cause people with chronic heart failure to lose interest in sex or wonder whether this activity is safe for them.

A literature review published in the October issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings finds that with proper screening and treatment, many patients with chronic heart failure can safely engage in sexual activity.

Methods

Co-authors Stacy Mandras, M.D., Patricia Uber, Pharm. D., and Mandeep Mehra, M.D., conducted systematic independent literature searches using the MEDLINE database and examined a broad range of medical research that focused on chronic heart failure, sexual activity and sexual dysfunction. This literature included data from patient surveys and clinical trials.

Findings

Many people with chronic heart failure worry that having sex will place too great a strain on the heart. To address this issue, Drs. Mandras and Mehra analyzed studies that showed the impact of sexual activity on heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rates, which typically increase during sexual activity and other forms of exertion.

One study the authors reviewed measured these changes in middle-aged men with and without coronary artery disease. This study found that the peak heart rate during intercourse was lower than heart rates measured during the patients normal daily activities. The study participants peak oxygen consumption levels during intercourse were moderate comparable to their oxygen consumption levels during moderate activities such as walking on level ground at 3 to 4 miles per hour, climbing stairs slowly or doing general housework such as vacuuming.

The authors also addressed how
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Contact: John Murphy
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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