HealthDay News — Fewer than one out of five acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients get advice from their provider on whether they can resume sexual activity, and what information they do get is often wrong, findings published in Circulation indicate.
“AMI can result in reduced sexual activity and function, due in part to fear that sex could trigger another AMI or be fatal,” noted Stacy Tessler Lindau, MD, director of integrative sexual medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center, and colleagues.
“Loss of sexual activity or function after AMI can contribute to depression, relationship strain, diminished quality of life, and can impair future childbearing.”
To evaluate gender differences in baseline sexual activity, function and patient experience with clinician counseling about sexual activity after an AMI, the investigators conducted a prospective, longitudinal study using data from the Variation in Recovery: Role of Gender on Outcomes of Young AMI Patients (VIRGO) study.
Questions were asked of 3,501 women and men, aged 18 to 55 years, about the counseling on sexual activity they received following their AMI. Patients from 127 hospitals in the United States and Spain from 2008 to 2012 were surveyed.
Only 12% of women and 19% of men in the study reported receiving sexual counseling from their health-care provider one month after their AMI. In the instances when patients reported discussing sex with their doctors, 68% were given unwarranted restrictions.
About 35% of the patients counseled were told to limit sex, 26% were told to take a more passive role, and 23% were instructed to keep their heart rate down during sex.
“Neither strong evidence nor clinical guidelines support the specific kinds of sexual activity restrictions patients received, nor do they support making different recommendations based on patient gender or age,” wrote the researchers.