Change in sexual activity after a cardiac event: the role of medications, comorbidity, and psychosocial factors

Appl Nurs Res. 2015 Aug;28(3):244-50. doi: 10.1016/j.apnr.2015.04.011. Epub 2015 Apr 30.


Aim: The aim of this study was to examine change in sexual activity before and after cardiac diagnosis in men and women by medication class.

Background: Decline in sexual activity after cardiac diagnosis frequently occurs, with adverse effects of medications believed to play a role, although literature by subclass of drugs are conflicting.

Methods: Mixed methods approach was used to evaluate cardiac patients' (N=211) self-reported medications and changes in sexual activity before and after cardiac diagnosis via mailed survey. Chi square, logistic regression, and thematic analysis were used.

Results: First and third generation beta blockers, class 1 calcium channel blockers, vasodilators, diuretics, and loop diuretics adversely affected sexual activity. Significant predictors of change in sexual activity were number of medications, education level, and income; the overall model predicted 25.7% of the variance in sexual activity.

Conclusions: Sexual assessment and discussion of sexual concerns and side effects of medications by nurses are important to support sexual function.

Keywords: Cardiovascular diseases; Drug therapy; Sexual activity; Sexual dysfunction.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Drug Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / diagnosis
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / epidemiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / epidemiology*