Background: The cardiovascular effects of sildenafil are important because of the frequent presence of underlying cardiac disease in men with erectile dysfunction and reports indicating serious cardiac events temporally associated with the use of this drug.
Methods: We assessed the systemic, pulmonary, and coronary hemodynamic effects of oral sildenafil (100 mg) in 14 men (mean [+/-SD] age, 61+/-11 years) with severe stenosis of at least one coronary artery (stenosis of >70 percent of the vessel diameter) who were scheduled to undergo percutaneous coronary revascularization. Blood-flow velocity and flow reserve were assessed with a Doppler guidewire in 25 coronary arteries, including 13 severely diseased arteries (mean stenosis, 78+/-7 percent) and 12 arteries without stenosis, used as a reference; maximal hyperemia was induced (to assess flow reserve) with the intracoronary administration of adenosine both before and after sildenafil.
Results: Oral sildenafil produced only small decreases (<10 percent) in systemic arterial and pulmonary arterial pressures, and it had no effect on pulmonary-capillary wedge pressure, right atrial pressure, heart rate, or cardiac output. There were no significant changes in average peak coronary flow velocity, coronary-artery diameter, volumetric coronary blood flow, or coronary vascular resistance. Coronary flow reserve at base line was lower in the stenosed arteries (1.26+/-0.26) than in the reference arteries (2.19+/-0.44) and increased about 13 percent in both groups of arteries combined after the administration of sildenafil (from 1.70+/-0.59 to 1.92+/-0.72, P=0.003). The ratio of coronary flow reserve in coronary arteries with stenosis to that in the reference arteries (0.57+/-0.14) was not affected by sildenafil.
Conclusions: No adverse cardiovascular effects of oral sildenafil were detected in men with severe coronary artery disease.