Sexual Health Among Coronary Heart Disease Patients

Study Questions:

Does sexual health differ among men and women with coronary heart disease (CHD) compared to those without heart disease?

Methods:

Data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing were used for the present analysis. This was a longitudinal study of adults ages ≥50 years, residing in England, which started in 2002. The cohort was assessed every 2 years, and these data were collected in wave 6 (2012/2013). Periodic inclusion of new participants was done to maintain a full age range. For the present analysis, a cross-sectional selection of adults who completed information on sexual health was included. Sexual behavior and related concerns were assessed via survey. Additional variables included age, partnership status, and comorbidities.

Results:

A total of 2,979 men and 3,711 women were included in the present study, of which 376 men and 279 women had a diagnosis of CHD. Men with CHD were less likely to be sexually active (odds ratio [OR], 0.62; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.47-0.81) or to think about sex (OR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.54-0.95) compared to men without CHD. Men with CHD were also more likely to report more erectile difficulties (OR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.10-1.93) than men without CHD. Adults with a more recent CHD diagnosis (within the past 4 years) were more likely to report sexual difficulties and/or concerns. Women diagnosed <4 years ago were also less likely to be sexually active (OR, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.23-0.84).

Conclusions:

The investigators concluded that there is an association between CHD and sexual activity, particularly among men, but the impact of CHD is limited. More effective advice after diagnosis might reverse the reduction in sexual activity, leading to improved quality of life.

Perspective:

These data support the need for clinicians to assess sexual health among patients with CHD.

Clinical Topics: Prevention

Keywords: Comorbidity, Coronary Artery Disease, Coronary Disease, Erectile Dysfunction, Quality of Life, Reproductive Health, Primary Prevention, Sexual Behavior


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