The Patient's Comorbidity Burden Correlates with the Erectile Dysfunction Severity

Actas Urol Esp (Engl Ed). 2018 Jan-Feb;42(1):57-63. doi: 10.1016/j.acuro.2017.03.011. Epub 2017 Jun 20.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Objective: To explore the potential relationship between erectile dysfunction (ED), low testosterone levels, and the Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI).

Material and methods: Cross-sectional study on patients referred to the andrology unit in 7 Spanish centers. The ED was diagnosed and graded using the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5) score. Total testosterone, the prevalence of each comorbidity, and the CCI were compared between patients with different grades of ED. Besides, the correlation between total testosterone and the CCI score, the influence of each comorbidity, and the ED severity on the CCI was assessed in a multiple linear regression.

Results: The study included 430 men with a mean age of 61 years. The mean CCI was 3.5, and mean total testosterone 15.2 nmol/L; 389 (91%) subjects had some grade of ED: 97 (23%) mild, 149 (35%) mild-to-moderate, 86 (20%) moderate, and 57 (13%) severe. The increase in ED severity was significantly associated with a decrease in total testosterone (P=.002), and an increase in the CCI score (P<.001). Testosterone levels were significantly lower in patients with obesity, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, and hypertriglyceridemia (P<.05). However, only the prevalence of diabetes and hypertension was significantly associated with the severity of ED. The multivariate analysis including variables related to all assessed comorbidities, total testosterone levels, and the DE severity significantly predicted the CCI score (P<.001, R2=.426). The severity of ED significantly contributed to this model (P=.011), but total testosterone did not (P=.204).

Conclusions: The CCI is significantly associated with the ED severity, but it shows a weak correlation with the testosterone levels.

Keywords: Charlson Comorbidity Index; Comorbidity; Comorbilidad; Disfunción eréctil; Erectile dysfunction; Hipogonadismo; Hypogonadism; Índice de comorbilidad de Charlson.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Dyslipidemias / epidemiology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / blood
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypogonadism / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Testosterone