Vasectomy, inflammation, atherosclerosis and long-term followup for cardiovascular diseases: no associations in the atherosclerosis risk in communities study

J Urol. 2002 Jan;167(1):204-7.


Purpose: Although human studies have failed to reveal an increased risk of clinical cardiovascular disease in men who undergo vasectomy, the possibility exists that an association may be detectable only after a long followup, or it may be more evident for subclinical than clinical disease. We assessed the association of vasectomy with inflammation and coagulation factors, carotid intimal-medial thickness, carotid plaque, prevalent peripheral arterial disease, and incident coronary heart disease and stroke in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities cohort.

Materials and methods: Included in the study were 3,957 white men 45 to 64 years old who were free of coronary heart disease at the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) baseline examination in 1987 to 1989. Data on vasectomy was collected at baseline by self-reporting. High resolution B-mode ultrasound was done to assess carotid intimal-medial thickness and carotid plaque. The cohort was followed an average of 9 years for incident cardiovascular events.

Results: Average time since vasectomy was 16 years. Approximately 20% of the population had undergone vasectomy 20 years or more ago at baseline. Multivariate analysis showed no association of vasectomy status with inflammation or coagulation factors, peripheral arterial disease, carotid plaque, carotid far wall thickness, incident coronary heart disease or stroke. Associations were unaffected by the time since vasectomy.

Conclusions: There is no evidence in this population based sample of men indicating that vasectomy is related to atherosclerosis even after more than 20 years of followup.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arteriosclerosis / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Arteries / pathology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Ultrasonography
  • Vasectomy / adverse effects*