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Docs urged to advise on sex after heart attacks

CHICAGO -- Many heart specialists are hardly Dr. Ruth -- sex is not something they relish bringing up with patients. But new guidance says they should, early and often, to let survivors know intimacy is often possible after a heart attack.

Discussions should involve everything from when and how to resume sex, to what position might be best for some conditions or not advised for others, says a joint statement issued yesterday by the American Heart Association and the European Society of Cardiology.

Based on a review of medical literature, it's billed as the first scientific statement with detailed guidance on resuming sex after a heart attack, stroke or other cardiac condition.

"Sexual health is an important part of the overall health of the individual," even for the oldest patients, said Elaine Steinke, a Wichita State University professor of nursing. She was the lead author of the statement published in the heart association's journal Circulation and the European Heart Journal. -- AP