Low-intensity Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Urology. 2018 Sep;119:97-103. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2017.09.011. Epub 2017 Sep 27.


Objective: To assess the efficacy of low-energy extracorporeal shock wave therapy (LI-ESWT) for erectile dysfunction (ED), a systematic review and meta-analysis was undertaken.

Methods: A comprehensive search of the PubMed, Cochrane Register, and Embase databases to March 2017 was performed for randomized controlled trials reporting on patients with ED treated with LI-ESWT. The International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) and the Erection Hardness Score (EHS) were the most commonly used tools to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of LI-ESWT.

Results: There were 9 studies including 637 patients from 2005 to 2017. The meta-analysis revealed that LI-ESWT could significantly improve IIEF (mean difference [MD]: 2.54; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.83-4.25; P = .004) and EHS (risk difference [RD]: 0.16; 95% CI, 0.03-0.28; P = .01). Therapeutic efficacy could last at least 3 months (MD: 4.15; 95% CI, 1.40-6.90; P = .003). Lower energy density (0.09 mJ/mm2, MD: 4.14; 95% CI, 0.87-7.42; P = .01) increased the number of pulses (3000 pulses per treatment, MD: 5.11; 95% CI, 3.18-7.05, P < .0001) and shorter total treatment courses (<6 weeks, MD: 3.73; 95% CI, 0.54-6.93; P = .02) resulted in better therapeutic efficacy.

Conclusion: These studies suggest that LI-ESWT could significantly improve the IIEF and EHS of patients with ED. The publication of robust evidence from additional randomized controlled trials and longer-term follow-up would provide more confidence regarding the use of LI-ESWT for patients with ED.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Erectile Dysfunction / therapy*
  • Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome