Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Doctors Aren't Discussing Sex With Heart Attack Survivors


Study of younger patients finds they often get misinformation

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WebMD News from HealthDay

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Dec. 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- After suffering cardiac arrest, Karen Englert recalled that her doctors freely dispensed advice about not lifting milk jugs, not driving, not showering -- but nothing about resuming sex with her husband, Jeff.

"I've had six different heart procedures, and never had any specific instructions about when that activity could resume," said Englert, 33, of suburban St. Louis, Mo.

People who survive serious events such as cardiac arrest -- when the heart suddenly stops functioning -- or heart attack are understandably concerned about overexertion, and that fretting extends to whether sex might be harmful or dangerous.

A new study of younger heart attack survivors finds that fewer than one out of five get any advice from their doctor on whether they can resume sexual activity -- and what information they do get often is wrong.

"The vast majority of people who have a heart attack do not receive any counseling from their physician about sex," said lead author Dr. Stacy Tessler Lindau, director of integrative sexual medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center. "If a doctor doesn't bring it up, there are some who will not resume sexual activity because they fear it could trigger another heart attack."

One month after their heart attacks, only 12 percent of women and 19 percent of men in the study reported receiving sexual counseling from their health care provider, according to the findings, published Dec. 15 in the journal Circulation.

Guidelines say it is perfectly safe to resume sexual activity after a heart attack, as long as the patient is not still suffering angina or chest pain, Lindau said.

But many doctors fail to share that information with patients, the researchers found.

In the study, more than 3,500 women and men ages 18 to 55 were asked about the counseling on sexual activity they received following their heart attacks. The questions were asked of patients at 127 hospitals in the United States and Spain from 2008 to 2012.

In the rare instances when patients did discuss sex with their doctors, 68 percent were given unwarranted restrictions, the researchers found.

source : Doctors Aren't Discussing Sex With Heart Attack Survivors

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