Sexual Activity and Counseling in the First Month After Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) Among Younger Adults in the United States and Spain: A Prospective, Observational Study
Background—United States and European cardiovascular society guidelines recommend physicians counsel patients about resuming sexual activity after acute myocardial infarction (AMI), but little is known about patients' experience with counseling about sexual activity after AMI.
Methods and Results—The prospective, longitudinal Variation in Recovery: Role of Gender on Outcomes of Young AMI Patients (VIRGO) study, conducted at 127 hospitals in the U.S. and Spain, was designed, in part, to evaluate gender differences in baseline sexual activity, function and patient experience with physician counseling about sexual activity after an AMI. This study used baseline and 1-month data collected from the 2:1 sample of women (N=2349) and men (N=1152) ages 18-55 years with AMI. Median age was 48 years. Among those who reported discussing sexual activity with a physician in the month after AMI (12% of women, 19% of men), 68% were given restrictions: limit sex (35%), take a more passive role (26%), and/or keep the heart rate down (23%). In risk-adjusted analyses, factors associated with not discussing sexual activity with a physician included: female gender (RR 1.07, 95% CI 1.03-1.11), age (RR 1.05 per 10 years, 95% CI 1.02-1.08) and sexual inactivity at baseline (RR 1.11, 95% CI 1.08-1.15). Among patients who received counseling, women in Spain were significantly more likely to be given restrictions than U.S. women (RR 1.36, 95% CI 1.11-1.66).
Conclusions—Very few patients reported counseling for sexual activity after AMI. Those who did were commonly given restrictions not supported by evidence or guidelines.
Clinical Trial Registration Information—ClinicalTrials.gov, Identifier: NCT00597922.
- sexual activity
- patient-physician communication
- gender differences
- acute myocardial infarction
- sexual dysfunction
- Received August 8, 2014.
- Revision received September 29, 2014.
- Accepted October 3, 2014.