Put another way, less than 1 percent of the deaths from sudden cardiac arrest were related to sex.
Limitations to the study included unknown information surrounding the frequency of sexual activity, so researchers could not determine relative risk compared to rest and physical activity.
Jokes aside, the risk of sudden cardiac arrest and death is a concern for people with heart disease - including during sex - but the chances are "extremely low", according to senior study author Sumeet Chugh, MD, medical director of the Heart Rhythm Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is when the heart suddenly stops beating; it usually occurs without warning. The aerobic activity associated with sex is equivalent to climbing two flights of stairs, explained Dr. Nieca Goldberg.
Cardiac arrest results in more than 300,000 deaths each year in the US alone, the researchers say. "It's not that we are preoccupied by sex".
Sex generally is safe for most heart patients, unless they are unable to maintain even low levels of activity or have symptoms that keep them from doing daily chores like making the bed or cleaning the house, the heart experts noted.
There's one silver lining for people who have a cardiac arrest from sex - they're nearly twice as likely to survive, Chugh said.
These new data may help inform discussions between healthcare providers and patients on the safety of sexual activity.
Of the total cohort who suffered SCAs in the 13-year study period, the authors found just 0.7 percent of the pool-34 patients-experienced SCAs related to sex.
Chugh said the results surprised him, but in reality sex isn't as aerobically challenging as some people believe. "You're pretty much guaranteed to have a witness if sexual activity is involved".
"These findings highlight the importance of continued efforts to educate the public on the importance of bystander CPR for sudden cardiac arrest, irrespective of the circumstance", he added. It will also be published simultaneously in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
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