Human sexuality is an important aspect of health and quality of life. Many patients with ischemic heart disease – and their partners – are concerned that sexual activity could exacerbate their cardiac condition, possibly causing myocardial infarction or cardiac death. Patients with ischemic heart disease who wish to initiate or resume sexual activity should be evaluated with a thorough medical history and physical examination. Sexual activity is reasonable for individuals with no or mild angina and those who can exercise ≥3-5 METS without angina, excessive dyspnea, or ischemic ST segment changes. For the patient who is considered not be at low cardiovascular (CV) risk or in whom the CV risk is unknown, an exercise stress test is reasonable in order to determine his or her exercise capacity and to ascertain if symptoms or ischemia may occur. Regular exercise and cardiac rehabilitation can be effective in reducing the risk of CV complications associated with sexual activity for the patient with ischemic heart disease.
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Richard A. Lange and Glenn N. Levine declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Ischemic Heart Disease
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Lange, R.A., Levine, G.N. Sexual Activity and Ischemic Heart Disease. Curr Cardiol Rep 16, 445 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11886-013-0445-4
- Sexual activity
- Coital angina
- Coital MI
- Ischemic heart disease