Sleep disorders in patients with erectile dysfunction

BJU Int. 2017 Dec;120(6):855-860. doi: 10.1111/bju.13961. Epub 2017 Aug 8.


Objective: To assess the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) in men presenting with erectile dysfunction (ED) at a single centre.

Patients and methods: All men attending a specialised andrology outpatient department with a new diagnosis of ED were included in this prospective study. All patients completed three questionnaires: the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) and two sleep questionnaires [the Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Screening questionnaire and the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI)]. Their ED management was subsequently undertaken in accordance with local and European guidelines. An OSA diagnosis was made based on a score of ≥3 on the Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Screening questionnaire and those patients were referred for specialist management.

Results: Between February and September 2016, 129 patients with ED completed the study questionnaires. In all, 71 patients (55%) had a score of ≥3 on the Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Screening questionnaire, indicating a need for specialist sleep referral. Men who scored ≥3 on the Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Screening questionnaire were significantly older (61.4 vs 46.5 years; P < 0.001) and had a significantly higher body mass index (29.4 vs 26.7 kg/m2 ; P < 0.001) when compared to the control group (OSA score of <3). The sleep apnoea group (OSA score of ≥3) had significantly worse IIEF-ED scores (6.2 vs 9.1; P = 0.018) and ISI scores (7.9 vs 5.5; P = 0.061).

Conclusion: Men presenting to the andrology clinic with ED are at significant risk of having undiagnosed sleep disorders. This has serious adverse health consequences, as well as being associated with potential dangers at work and travel. The patient compliance was high with 78% completing all three questionnaires. It is feasible to screen this population for sleep disturbance and this should be part of the ED assessment.

Keywords: Epworth questionnaire; erectile dysfunction; obstructive sleep apnoea; sleep disturbance.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Erectile Dysfunction / complications*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult