Prevalence of Erectile Dysfunction in Atrial Fibrillation Patients: A Cross-Sectional, Epidemiological Study

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 2016 Jan;39(1):28-35. doi: 10.1111/pace.12753. Epub 2015 Oct 29.


Background: Sexual dysfunctions, especially erectile dysfunction (ED), are a major problem in cardiovascular patients. They are caused by cardiovascular risk factors including low-grade inflammation process, endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and hemodynamic and vascular alterations. The same mechanisms are some of the main causes and/or consequences of atrial fibrillation (AF). To this day, literature provides no cross-sectional data on the prevalence of sexual dysfunction in AF. The study aimed to determine the prevalence of sexual dysfunction in consecutive, young male patients with AF.

Material and methods: A cross-sectional survey of adult male patients with a primary diagnosis of AF was conducted at University Cardiology Departments, during the period of July 2013 to July 2014. During the enrollment process, the study participants were either electively hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of AF, or had a scheduled outpatient visit. Sexual dysfunctions were assessed using the International Index of Erectile Function.

Results: A total of 129 consecutive AF patients (mean age 57.0 ± 11.8 years) were analyzed. Hypertension was present in 60.5%, diabetes in 22.5% of patients, 46.5% had dyslipidemia, 18.6% were current smokers, and 45.7% had a family history of cardiovascular disease. At least one kind of sexual dysfunction was found in 86.8% of patients. ED was present in 57.4% of patients, 44.2% of patients had orgasmic dysfunction, 69.0% had lowered sexual desire, 65.1% had lowered intercourse satisfaction, and 55.8% had lowered overall satisfaction.

Conclusions: Sexual dysfunctions are highly prevalent in AF patients and are not only limited to ED, but also include dysfunction of orgasmic function, desire, or general satisfaction. In part, the presence of the sexual dysfunctions is probably caused by classical cardiovascular risk factors highly prevalent in AF patients, but the impact of AF itself cannot be underestimated.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation; erectile dysfunction; quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology*
  • Causality
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Erectile Dysfunction / diagnosis*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orgasm*
  • Poland / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult