Background: Considered to be a manifestation of a generalized vascular disease, erectile dysfunction (ED) could serve as an indicator for future cardiovascular events. Aim of this study was therefore to evaluate the role of ED as a predictor for coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke.
Methods: Men participating in a health-screening project in the area of Vienna completed the International Index of Erectile Function-5 questionnaire (IIEF5) to assess prevalence and severity of ED. Additionally, all men underwent a detailed health examination. The risk for CHD or stroke within 10 years depending on the severity of ED was estimated according to Framingham risk profile algorithms.
Results: In the CHD risk cohort (n = 2.495; 46.2 +/- 9.9 yrs) men with moderate/severe ED (IIEF5 5-16; n = 163) had a 65% increased relative risk for developing CHD within 10 yrs compared to those without ED (IIEF5 22-25; n = 1.784) (absolute risk: 8.0% for no ED to 13.2% for moderate/severe ED; p < 0.001). Relative risk increase ranged from 13.9% for those aged 30-39 yrs (p = 0.121), to 42.2% for 40-49 yrs (p = 0.012), 27.7% for 50-59 yrs (p = 0.048) and 27.1% for 60-69 yrs (p = 0.021). In the stroke risk population (n = 644; 61.3 +/- 5.1 yrs) men with moderate/severe ED (n = 99) were at a 43% relative risk increase for a stroke within 10 years (absolute risk: 9.3% for no ED to 13.3% for moderate/severe ED; p = 0.041). Increased risk varied between 38.6% for men aged 55-59 yrs (p = 0.013), 24.7% for 60-64 yrs (p = 0.072), 35.9% for 65-69 yrs (p = 0.046) and 43.6% for 70-74 yrs (p = 0.049).
Conclusions: Moderate to severe ED, but not mild ED is associated with a considerably increased risk for CHD or stroke within 10 years. A thorough medical surveillance seems therefore advisable for men with ED including cardiological evaluation, treatment of risk factors and lifestyle modifications.