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Sexual Activity Safe for Majority of Heart Patients

For most heart patients, sexual activity is safe.

Many people worry that the physical exertion of sex will cause chest pains or increase the risk of a heart attack. However, the American Heart Association says this risk is “miniscule because sexual activity is usually for a short time.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, less than 1% of heart attacks happen during sex. And sudden death due to heart failure during sex is very rare.

While this is good news for most heart patients, there are still important considerations to make.

Sexual Activity and Heart Health

People who have symptoms of severe heart disease, even when at rest or during light activity, should not have sex until their heart disease is stabilized. Those who have had heart attacks should generally wait six to eight weeks before having sex again.

Men who take nitrates for coronary artery disease should not take drugs for erectile dysfunction. The interaction of the two drugs could cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure. Also, nitrates should not be given to patients who have taken an erectile dysfunction drug in the previous 24 to 48 hours.

People who have had heart failure or attacks in the past often find that heart rehabilitation and physical activity can reduce their risk of heart complications during sex. Patients who are able to pass a heart stress test can usually be cleared for sexual activity.

However, since every individual is different, it’s best for heart patients to check with a doctor if they have any questions or concerns.


American Heart Association

“Sexual activity is safe for most heart patients”

(Press release. January 19, 2012)

Gaff, Terry, Dr.

“Sexual activity safe for majority of heart patients”

(March 31, 2013)

Mayo Clinic

“Sex Generally Safe After Heart Attacks”

(Press release. April 26, 2013)