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Sex counselling should be offered to heart attack patients

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Heart attack patients should be offered counselling on how to lead a healthy sex life, say Swedish nurse researchers.

Research shows that resuming sexual activity after a heart attack is extremely important to patients, yet they often receive little or no counselling in this area, said the team from Sweden’s Jönköping University.

The researchers – who questioned 84 cardiac healthcare professionals from a variety of cardiac rehabilitation centres – found that only 5% were offering counselling and advice on sex-related matters to patients following a cardiac event. 

‘Counselling should focus on encouraging patients to live a physically active life and not abstaining from sexual activity,’ said Bengt Fridlund, nurse researcher at the university’s school of health sciences.

‘However, sex counselling is frequently neglected by cardiovascular nurses, and the area needs more evidence-based knowledge with regard to sex and marital life, leading to both primary and secondary recommendations and actions,’ he added.

The results of the study are due to be published later this year, and researchers from the school of health sciences are also conducting further studies to assess cardiovascular teams’ knowledge and attitudes towards cardiac patients’ sex lives.

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