Sexual intercourse and respiratory failure

Francesca Polverino, Carlo Santoriello, Vittorio De Sio, Filippo Andò, Francesco de Blasio, Mario Polverino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sexual activity is an important component of quality of life in patients suffering from chronic illnesses. To our knowledge, the effects of sexual activity on gas exchange in patients with respiratory failure have not been yet studied. To such an extent, we evaluated the oxygen saturation (SaO2), by a pulse oxymeter, during three different sexual performances in a 63-yr-old patient affected by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT). The sexual performances were divided in four periods: basal, sex, 10 min after sex and relax. In each performance during sex, we observed a significant increase of either heart rate (HR) or SaO2, with the highest value of the latter achieved within the 10 min of the post-sex period. SaO2 returned to basal value (pre-sex) by the end of the relax period. We conclude that the observed improvement of SaO2 during sexual activity might be due to a better ventilation/perfusion ratio (V/Q) obtained for either an increase of ventilation (hyperventilation) and perfusion (tachycardia), without significant muscle expenditure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)927-931
Number of pages5
JournalRespiratory Medicine
Volume102
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COPD
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Sexual activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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