Background: Quality of life in hemodialysis patients has been associated with treatment outcomes. We explored the impact of erectile dysfunction on quality of life in a cohort of hemodialysis subjects.
Methods: A random sample of 302 Philadelphia area hemodialysis (HD) subjects was enrolled using a cross-sectional design. Subjects completed a self-administered questionnaire including items on sexual function, past medical history, and quality of life. Linear regression (accounting for sampling design by weighted estimation methods) was used to examine the associations between various measures of quality of life (the dependent variables) and erectile dysfunction (ED) and other variables (the predictor variables).
Results: We found the emotional domains of the SF-36, a multi-purpose, short-form health survey with 36 questions, to be more profoundly associated with ED than the physical domains. Using the physical and mental components of the SF-12, a new 12-item short form health survey as predictors of ED, only the mental composite score (MCS) was statistically significant after adjusting for age and diabetes (P = 0.008). Subjects with ED had significantly lower quality of life mean scores. In particular, ED was associated with poorer social interaction (mean score difference, -10.3, adjusted P < 0.001), decreased emotional well-being (-12.9, adjusted P = 0.005), more role limitations due to emotional problems (-22.9, adjusted P = 0.01), and poorer social function (-17.8, P = 0.001).
Conclusion: Recent advances in therapies for ED warrant that the diagnosis and treatment of erectile dysfunction be included in the global health assessment by the nephrologists and primary care providers of patients with renal insufficiency, as it may improve the quality of life of patients.