Introduction: Low-intensity shock wave therapy (LI-ESWT) has been reported as an effective treatment in men with mild and moderate erectile dysfunction (ED).
Aim: The aim of this study is to determine the efficacy of LI-ESWT in severe ED patients who were poor responders to phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (PDE5i) therapy.
Methods: This was an open-label single-arm prospective study on ED patients with an erection hardness score (EHS) ≤ 2 at baseline. The protocol comprised two treatment sessions per week for 3 weeks, which were repeated after a 3-week no-treatment interval. Patients were followed at 1 month (FU1), and only then an active PDE5i medication was provided for an additional month until final follow-up visit (FU2). At each treatment session, LI-ESWT was applied on the penile shaft and crus at five different anatomical sites (300 shocks, 0.09 mJ/mm(2) intensity at 120 shocks/min). Each subject underwent a full baseline assessment of erectile function using validated questionnaires and objective penile hemodynamic testing before and after LI-ESWT.
Main outcome measures: Outcome measures used are changes in the International Index of Erectile Function-erectile function domain (IIEF-ED) scores, the EHS measurement, and the three parameters of penile hemodynamics and endothelial function.
Results: Twenty-nine men (mean age of 61.3) completed the study. Their mean IIEF-ED scores increased from 8.8 ± 1 (baseline) to 12.3 ± 1 at FU1 (P = 0.035). At FU2 (on active PDE5i treatment), their IIEF-ED further increased to 18.8 ± 1 (P < 0.0001), and 72.4% (P < 0.0001) reached an EHS of ≥ 3 (allowing full sexual intercourse). A significant improvement (P = 0.0001) in penile hemodynamics was detected after treatment and this improvement significantly correlated with increases in the IIEF-ED (P < 0.05). No noteworthy adverse events were reported.
Conclusions: Penile LI-ESWT is a new modality that has the potential to treat a subgroup of severe ED patients. These preliminary data need to be reconfirmed by multicenter sham control studies in a larger group of ED patients.
© 2011 International Society for Sexual Medicine.