For heart attack survivors, the recovery process often involves gaining the knowledge and reassurance to move forward toward a full, active, healthier future. And for many, that includes maintaining sexual intimacy. However, new research finds even younger patients typically don’t receive counseling on when and how to safely resume sex following a heart attack.
The study, published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, found among 3,500 patients in the United States and Spain—surveyed one month after a heart attack—only 12 percent of women and 19 percent of men had received sexual counseling from their healthcare provider. In the rare instances when patients were counseled, they were often told to limit sex, take a more passive role or keep their heart rate down – restrictions not included in actual medical guidelines.
In this video, study authors Stacy Tessler Lindau, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and geriatric medicine and director of the Program in Integrative Sexual Medicine (PRISM), and Rupa Mehta Sanghani, MD, assistant professor of cardiology and director of cardiac rehabilitation at the University of Chicago Medicine, discuss their findings and why physician counseling on resuming physical activity after a heart attack should include guidance on sexual activity.