Objectives: Erectile dysfunction (ED) shares common risk factors with coronary artery disease (CAD). It has been suggested that ED may be considered a clinical manifestation of a generalized vascular disease affecting also the penile arteries. The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate angiographically the incidence of asymptomatic CAD in men with ED of vascular origin.
Methods: Fifty consecutive asymptomatic men, aged 41-74 years, with non-psychogenic and non-hormonal ED were comprehensively evaluated using medical history and examination, exercise treadmill test and stress echocardiography. Patients who had positive one or both of the two non-invasive procedures were referred for coronary arteriography in order to document CAD and evaluate the severity of the disease.
Results: The mean time interval between the onset of ED and cardiological assessment was 25 months (range 1-66). Smoking (32 patients/64%), hypertension (31 patients/62%) and hyperlipidemia (26 patients/52%) were the most common risk factors. Moreover, 35 men (70%) had two or more risk factors. Twelve patients (24%) with ED had positive one or both of the two non-invasive procedures and one patient presented with acute myocardial infarction before he completed the non-invasive investigation. Coronary arteriography performed in ten patients (in nine with positive one or both of the two non-invasive procedures [while the other three refused], and in the patient with acute myocardial infarction) demonstrated that one patient had three-vessel disease, two patients had two-vessel disease and six patients had single-vessel disease.
Conclusions: A considerable proportion (9/47 or 19%) of patients with ED of vascular origin has angiographically documented silent CAD. These findings support the strategy that patients with ED should undergo further cardiovascular evaluation.