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Cardiac rehabilitation improves sexual function in CVD patients: CJC


Cardiac rehabilitation improves sexual function in CVD patients: CJC

Philadelphia, December 6, 2018 –According to a study in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, Exercise-based Cardiac rehabilitation improves sexual function in CVD patients. 

The new systematic review of the literature found that cardiac rehabilitation attendance was associated with improved sexual function and sexual frequency. It validates the benefit of exercise training and points to the need for more high-quality research to better understand the role of counseling and other therapies in easing the sexual repercussions of a cardiac event.

In the study, Célina A. Boothby and co-investigators reviewed the published literature and identified 341 potentially relevant published studies, of which 14 met criteria to be included in this investigation. They assessed a variety of sexual health outcomes including sexual resumption after a cardiac event, sexual function (primarily relating to erectile dysfunction), sexual frequency, and sexual satisfaction.

The results of the review indicate that there may be potential benefits from cardiac rehabilitation, CR on sexual outcomes. Of six studies pertaining specifically to sexual function, three showed improvement after CR, two showed mixed results, and one showed worsened sexual function. Interestingly, the effects on sexual health do not appear to depend on sex-specific counseling.

According to the investigators, CR may provide the perfect opportunity to address the sexual health of patients with CVD. Similar to assessing outcome measures, such as physical limitations and exercise capacity, it is important for physicians to ask about a patient’s sexual health before and after CR attendance. In addition, the majority of CR programs in this review included lifestyle and risk factor reduction counseling components. Given their holistic nature, attendance in CR programs would also be a good time to address physical and psychological barriers to sexual activity.

 “As patients live longer with chronic CVD, it is important to focus not just on the clinical effectiveness of interventions, but also to understand how interventions affect patients’ quality of life. We know that sexual activity is important to patients as it allows them to feel well and vital and close and connected with their partner. Evidence shows that patients with CVD suffer from decreased sexual activity due to physical limitations, medication side effects, and psychological barriers. Although CR has been shown to improve mortality and morbidity, this is the first review to explore its effects on sexual health outcomes,” said lead investigator Karen L. Tang, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Assistant Professor, Departments of Medicine and Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.

According to the investigators, CR may provide the perfect opportunity to address the sexual health of patients with CVD. Similar to assessing outcome measures, such as physical limitations and exercise capacity, it is important for physicians to ask about a patient’s sexual health before and after CR attendance. In addition, the majority of CR programs in this review included lifestyle and risk factor reduction counseling components. Given their holistic nature, attendance in CR programs would also be a good time to address physical and psychological barriers to sexual activity.

The investigators, however, concluded that more evidence was needed to clarify whether CR has an impact on sexual satisfaction, sexual activity resumption, and other aspects of sexual health. They also felt the need to explore the question of whether exercise training in CR influences sexual health outcomes by increasing cardiovascular and muscle functioning.

“Understanding the importance of sexual health and the potential impacts that CR has on sexual outcomes are imperative in improving patient quality of life after a cardiovascular event. We need to more effectively examine how CR might be used and innovated to improve quality of life outcomes like sexual health,” commented Dr. Tang.

The investigators also suggest conducting an assessment of physical and psychological barriers to sexual activity in CVD patients before and after an intervention. Therefore health professionals, and in particular, cardiologists should be aware of the need to discuss and offer prompt and adequate advice regarding sexual life for patients with heart disease. The cardiac rehabilitation programme can be out by the CR team or by referral to a professional specialist in sexuality.

For further reference log on to :

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cjca.2018.08.020).

Source: With inputs from Canadian Journal of Cardiology

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