(HealthDay News) – Cardiovascular disease (CVD) patients and their partners should receive sexual counseling, according to a joint position statement from the American Heart Association and the European Society of Cardiology Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions, published online July 29 in Circulation.

Elaine E. Steinke, APRN, PhD, from Wichita State University in Kansas and colleagues reviewed current evidence related to sexual counseling in CVD and developed guidelines for physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals.

The authors recommend that patient and spouse/partner counseling is useful to assist in resumption of sexual activity after an acute cardiac event, new CVD diagnosis, changes in cardiac disease function or status, or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator implantation. This counseling may include written educational materials or a video. Staff working with patients with CVD should receive training in taking a sexual history, techniques for use within a sexual counseling consultation, delivery of accurate information, follow-up education or counseling, and appropriate referral to other health care professionals. In addition, they should be trained to discuss sexual concerns in different populations and situations. Sexual counseling should be tailored to the patient’s individual needs and should be offered to patients and partners regardless of age and sex. Sexual health topics that should be addressed in counseling include recommendations for coital positioning, medication effects, risks with sexual activity, warning signs during sexual activity, and when to resume sexual activity.

“It is important that providers assess sexual problems and concerns in a timely manner and address any issues through sexual counseling and medical management where indicated,” the authors write.

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