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Sex after heart attacks not the preserve of TV programmes

Racy TV plot lines where middle aged men die in their lovers’ arms are putting heart attack survivors off sex, say doctors.Sex after heart attacks not the preserve of TV programmesCardiologists say heart attacks are so rarely bought on by sex that survivors need not worry about abstaining.

Television series like Downton Abbey and Mad Men, and films like Body of Evidence, feature dramatic scenes where philandering men suffer heart attacks in bed brought on by the exertion and excitement of it all.

But cardiologists say heart attacks are so rarely brought on by sex that survivors need not abstain.

Less than one per cent of people who die due to fatal heart attacks do so during or shortly after sex, they say.

According to the American Heart Association, anyone fit enough to walk up a few flights of stairs should be fit enough to have sex, as they are equally strenuous.

In Downton Abbey, Lady Mary, played by Michelle Dockery, is left aghast when a Turkish diplomat dies in her bed after they have made love.

In Mad Men, advertising boss Roger Sterling suffers a heart attack after spending the night with a pair of twins, whom he shares with a colleague, Don Draper. He survives, and the experience does not change him.

In Body of Evidence, Madonna stars as a woman accused of having rough sex with an elderly millionaire to kill him and inherit his fortune.

Last year the sex-triggers-heart-attacks theory was given scientific backing by a study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It found that heart attack risk was almost three times higher in the hour or two after sex than at other times.

A new study, published in the American Journal of Cardiology, has found that far too few cardiologists give heart attack survivors advice on resuming their sex lives.

The survey of 1,879 heart attack patients found less than half of men and about a third of women recalled receiving instructions about when it was safe to do so.

Dr Stacy Tessler Lindau, of University of Chicago Medicine, said those who did not receive advice were far less likely to resume their sex lives than those who did.

She said: “Doctors need to understand the significant role they play in helping acute myocardial infarction [heart attack] patients avoid needless fear and worry about the risk of relapse or even death with return to sexual activity.”

Dr Harlan Krumholz, of Yale University School of Medicine, added: “This study may help doctors address issues that they’re traditionally reluctant to discuss.

“We’re showing that addressing sexual health may make a difference to long-term outcomes.”

However philanderers should still beware. Another study, published in the journal Circulation, found that three out of four men who died of cardiac arrest ‘in flagrante delicto’ did so while having an affair.

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