This Week in Sex is a summary of news and research related to sexual behavior, sexuality education, contraception, STIs, and more.
High-profile men dying while in bed with their mistresses is a common plot point in police procedurals but is unlikely to happen to anyone in real life, says a new study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles looked specifically at sudden cardiac arrest, which happens when there is a disturbance in the heart’s rhythms that causes the heart to stop pumping blood.
Though victims of sudden cardiac arrest often have pre-existing heart conditions, this event tends to happen without any warning or advance symptoms. The heart stops beating, the person loses consciousness within seconds, and they often die within minutes unless treated. Less than 10 percent of people survive cardiac arrest.
This is different from a heart attack, which is a circulation problem. During a heart attack, a part of the heart stops getting enough blood—usually from a blockage—but the heart itself never stops beating. Heart attacks usually come with symptoms that can help a person recognize they are in trouble and spurs them to seek treatment.
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It can be hard to do research on sudden cardiac events because they are not common (if you follow 10,000 people for a year, maybe five or six will have one) and because death certificates are not always specific enough in describing what happened (which makes retrospective studies harder).
For the study, researchers tracked 4,457 cases of…