Erectile dysfunction is a marker for obstructive sleep apnea

Aging Male. 2016 Jun;19(2):102-5. doi: 10.3109/13685538.2015.1131259. Epub 2016 Jan 13.


Purpose: To investigate the prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED) in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with and without any other comorbidities.

Methods: The patient group was newly diagnosed as having OSA (apnea-hypopnea index [AHI] > 5/h) using a polysomnographic examination. A group of subjects with simple snoring were included into the control group. Clinically relevant comorbidities were systematically assessed in face-to-face interviews. All patients were asked to complete the 15-item International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-15) questionnaire for the evaluation of ED. The patients with OSA and ED were evaluated according to these comorbidities.

Results: Of the 94 patients, 39 patients were excluded because of severe diseases. OSA was observed in 38 (69.1%) of the 55 patients. ED was seen in 24 (63.2%) patients with OSA, and in 8 (47.1%) patients without OSA (p > 0.05). There were no statistical differences between the groups' ages, IIEF scores, and body mass index (BMI) scores. There were statistically significant differences between the groups' AHI scores (p < 0.05). There was a significant correlation between the groups' AHI scores, BMI, and age (p < 0.05). There was no statistically significant difference in patients with OSA, with and without comorbidity in terms of ED.

Conclusion: The rate of ED was higher in patients with OSA who had no other comorbidities. Therefore, ED can be a sensitive marker of OSA.

Keywords: Comorbidity; erectile dysfunction; obstructive sleep apnea; prevalence.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers
  • Body Mass Index
  • Erectile Dysfunction / complications*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Biomarkers