PEOPLE who have had a heart attack should not be deterred from having sex, James Muller of the New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, says. He has found that although sexual activity can trigger a heart attack in vulnerable people, it is safer than a fit of anger, extreme physical exertion or simply getting out of bed in the morning.

His study of 1,663 people recovering from heart attacks, reported in New Scientist, found that only 1.5 per cent had suffered a heart attack because of sex, although 761 were sexually active. The risk of heart attack in the first two hours after getting up in the morning is estimated to be 2-3 times greater than normal.