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

patients who had been given instructions about resuming sexual activity at hospital discharge were more likely to engage in such activity over the following year.

The study was part of TRIUMPH (Translational Research Investigating Underlying Disparities in Recovery from Acute Myocardial Infarction: Patients' Health Status). Participants were asked questions about their sexual activity prior to and after having a heart attack.

"As survival after a heart attack continues to improve, it is important to begin studying the outcomes of patients who survive; their symptoms, function and quality of life," said John A. Spertus, M.D., M.P.H., Clinical Director of Outcomes Research at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute/UMKC and Principal Investigator of the TRIUMPH Study. "To date, few studies have examined whether patients who survive a heart attack resume sexual activity."

"Little is known about what happens to patients' sexuality and sexual function after a heart attack, particularly for women" Lindau said. "While most hospitals have a regimented process of presenting discharge information to patients after heart attack, the question of when it's safe to resume sexual activity after heart attack is not always addressed."

Even when it's discussed, the researchers aren't sure what's being said. "We don't yet know the content or value of the instructions patients are receiving," she said

The consensus among physicians is that it's safe to resume sexual activity after a heart attack once the patient feels better and is capable of performing moderate exercise.

"The likelihood of dying during sexual intercourse, even among people who have had a heart attack, is really small," Lindau said.

Some physicians are reluctant to discuss sex with patients who are older, aren't married or belong to a conservative religious group, she said. "But in the case of sexuality, stereotypes don't work. Older patients may not be married but still have an in
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Contact: Karen Astle
karen.astle@heart.org
214-706-1392
American Heart Association
Source:Eurekalert

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