Abstract 14155: Sexual Concerns of Patients and Partners at ICD Implant
Background: Returning to sexual activity after an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a prominent concern of both patients and partners. Clinicians often do not advise patients about sex after an ICD, even though patients are concerned about safe return to sex and receiving an ICD shock. The purpose of this study was to describe the number and type of concerns of both patients and their intimate partners at the time of ICD implant, either for primary or secondary prevention of cardiac arrest.
Methods: Patients who had an initial ICD implant [N=190 pairs] and their intimate partners, completed the Sexual Concerns Inventory (SCI) at hospital discharge following 1st time ICD implant. Patients were (mean + SD) 62± 11 years old, 89% Caucasian, 76% male, having received an ICD for primary (58%) or secondary indication (42%), with a Charlson score =2.3± 1.6. Partners were 61± 12 years old, 90% Caucasian, 76% female, with a Charlson score = 1.2± 0.7. Both completed the SCI at baseline hospital discharge after receiving the ICD, answers were not to be shared with one another. Descriptive statistics and correlations were used to outline concerns.
Results: Patients reported an average of 1.9± 1.2 concerns about sex after the ICD, while partners reported 2.5± 1.7 concerns. In most areas of sexual concerns, partners reported more concern than patients: 1) over protectiveness- 69% of partners and 49% of patients, 2) fear of the ICD firing during sex- 30% of partners and 22% of patients, 3) fear of cardiac arrest-39% of partners and 21% of patients, and 4) lack of interest in sex-43% of partners and 51% of patients. Erectile dysfunction was noted by 54% of patients receiving an ICD. Additionally, 53% of couples had not had sex in the 2 months prior to ICD implantation. 76% of couples reported receiving no advice from health care providers about safe return to sex after an ICD or likelihood of receiving an ICD shock.
Conclusions: Both patients and intimate partners have concerns about return to sex after an ICD, while clinicians are not likely to give advice regarding sex. Partners have more concerns about sex than patients, and their concerns are similar. Information about returning to sex, likelihood of an ICD shock, and safely engaging in sex is information desired by patients and partners.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.