Prognostic utility of erectile dysfunction for cardiovascular disease in younger men and those with diabetes

Am Heart J. 2012 Jul;164(1):21-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2012.04.006. Epub 2012 Jun 7.


Multiple published studies have established erectile dysfunction (ED) as an independent risk marker for cardiovascular disease (CVD). In fact, incident ED has a similar or greater predictive value for cardiovascular events than traditional risk factors including smoking, hyperlipidemia, and family history of myocardial infarction. Here, we review evidence that supports ED as a particularly significant harbinger of CVD in 2 populations: men <60 years of age and those with diabetes. Although addition of ED to the Framingham Risk Score only modestly improved the 10-year predictive capacity of the Framingham Risk Score for myocardial infarction or coronary death data in men enrolled in the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, other epidemiologic studies suggest that the predictive value of ED is quite strong in younger men. Indeed, in the Olmstead County Study, men 40 to 49 years of age with ED had a 50-fold higher incidence of new-incident coronary artery disease than those without ED. However, ED had less predictive value (5-fold increased risk) for coronary artery disease in men 70 years and older. Several studies, including a large analysis of more than 6300 men enrolled in the ADVANCE study, suggest that ED is a particularly powerful predictor of CVD in diabetic men as well. Based on the literature reviewed here, we encourage physicians to inquire about ED symptoms in all men more than 30 years of age with cardiovascular risk factors. Identification of ED, particularly in men <60 years old and those with diabetes, represents an important first step toward CVD risk detection and reduction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Diabetic Cardiomyopathies / etiology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Impotence, Vasculogenic / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Vascular Diseases / complications