Sexual Knowledge in Patients With a Myocardial Infarction and Their Partners

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Abstract

Background:

Sexual health and sexual activity are important elements of an individual’s well-being. For couples, this topic is often affected after a myocardial infarction (MI). It has become increasingly clear that, after an MI, patients are insufficiently educated on how to resume normal sexual activity. However, sufficient data on the general knowledge that patients and partners have about sexual activity and MI are lacking.

Objective:

The aims of this study were to explore and compare patients’ and partners’ sexual knowledge 1 month after a first MI and 1 year after the event and to compare whether the individual knowledge had changed over time. A second aim was to investigate whether patients and their partners report receiving information about sexual health and sexual activity from healthcare professionals during the first year after the event and how this information was perceived.

Subjects and Methods:

This descriptive, comparative survey study enrolled participants from 13 Swedish hospitals in 2007–2009. A total of 115 patients with a first MI and their partners answered the Sex After MI Knowledge Test questionnaire 1 month after the MI and 1 year after the event. Correct responses generated a maximum score of 75.

Results:

Only 41% of patients and 31% of partners stated that they had received information on sex and relationships at the 1 year follow-up. The patients scored 51 ± 10 on the Sex After MI Knowledge Test at inclusion into the study, compared with the 52 ± 10 score for the partners. At the 1-year follow-up, the patients’ knowledge had significantly increased to a score of 55 ± 7, but the partners’ knowledge did not significantly change (53 ± 10).

Conclusions:

First MI patients and their partners reported receiving limited information about sexual issues during the cardiac rehabilitation and had limited knowledge about sexual health and sexual activity.

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