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Sexual activity declines for heart attack patients not getting doctors' advice
Date:5/21/2010

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2010 Sexual activity declines in the year after heart attack for patients who don't get instructions from their doctors about when it's safe to resume sex, researchers reported at the American Heart Association's 11th Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke.

In a study of 1,184 male and 576 female acute heart attack patients, nearly half the men and about a third of women reported receiving discharge instructions on resuming sexual activity. Even fewer less than 40 percent of men and less than 20 percent of women talked about sex with their physicians in the year following their heart attack.

One year after heart attack, more than two thirds of the men reported some sexual activity, and about 40 percent of the women reported sexual activity. Men were 1.3 times and women 1.4 times more likely to report a loss of sexual activity after one year if they didn't receive information on when to resume sexual activity.

"Sexuality is an important part of life throughout life, and most heart attack patients are sexually active" said Stacy Tessler Lindau, M.D., lead author of the study and associate professor of obstetrics/gynecology and medicine-geriatrics at the University of Chicago. "For the most part, physicians just aren't discussing this topic with their patients after a heart attack."

Most participants were assessed at one month and again at one year following their heart attack regarding level of sexual activity both before and after heart attack. Researchers set up gender-separate models to predict the frequency of sexual activity at one year following a heart attack in those who were sexually active prior to or since their heart attack. Male participants (average age 59 years) were more likely to be married than women participants (average age 61 years) and were more likely to be sexually active prior to the heart attack. Even after adjusting for these differences,
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Contact: Karen Astle
karen.astle@heart.org
214-706-1392
American Heart Association
Source:Eurekalert

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