Sex and the heart

Int J Impot Res. 2005 Dec;17 Suppl 1:S4-6. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijir.3901422.


Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a highly prevalent and increasingly common, mainly vascular disorder. Most patients with chronic cardiovascular diseases experience decreased libido and frequency of sexual activity, as well as ED. Some unique organic and psychological factors contributing to ED have been identified in patients with underlying cardiovascular problems. Certain risk factors are common to the development of coronary artery disease, heart failure and ED, including diabetes mellitus, hypertension, smoking and dyslipidemia. Additionally, the use of medications such as beta blockers, digoxin and thiazide diuretics might eventually cause but more likely worsen sexual dysfunction. These unintended consequences can lead to medical noncompliance in misguided efforts to retain satisfactory sexual activity, and thereby worsen cardiovascular problems. Accordingly, it is important for physicians dealing with patients with cardiovascular diseases to address sexual concerns in their patients. After careful evaluation, most patients with stable cardiac disorders can resume sexual activity and/or can be treated for ED.

MeSH terms

  • 3',5'-Cyclic-GMP Phosphodiesterases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Erectile Dysfunction / drug therapy*
  • Heart Diseases / complications
  • Heart Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Heart Diseases / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myocardial Infarction / etiology
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Piperazines / adverse effects
  • Piperazines / therapeutic use
  • Purines
  • Sexual Behavior / physiology*
  • Sildenafil Citrate
  • Sulfones


  • Piperazines
  • Purines
  • Sulfones
  • Sildenafil Citrate
  • 3',5'-Cyclic-GMP Phosphodiesterases