Relationship between heart rate recovery index and erectile dysfunction

North Clin Istanb. 2021 Aug 23;8(4):371-376. doi: 10.14744/nci.2020.23921. eCollection 2021.


Objective: Heart rate recovery (HRR) is a cardiac parameter that can be used to evaluate autonomic nervous system (ANS) function problems. We examined the possible relationship between erectile dysfunction (ED) and HRR which is a clinical condition associated with ANS dysfunction.

Methods: Seventy-six male patients that were examined with an exercise stress test and completed the International Index of Erectile Function Questionnaire Form (IIEF-5) were included in the study. The patients were divided into two groups as those with a normal HRR index (≥12, n=42) and those with an abnormal HRR index (<12, n=34). Then, statistical analyses were conducted to evaluate the correlations between ED and HRR.

Results: There were no differences between the groups in terms of risk factors, such as laboratory findings, age, BMI, hypertension, and smoking. However, in the group with an abnormal HRR index, the IIEF-5 score was significantly lower than the other group (11.2±4.2 vs. 20.3±4.6, p<0.001). A statistically significant positive correlation was observed between the IIEF-5 score and HRR index (r=0.702, p<0.001). In addition, the presence of diabetes mellitus and HRR index was independent risk factors for lowering the IIEF-5 score.

Conclusion: The HRR index can be considered as an independent predictor of ED since a reduced value, which is associated with cardiovascular mortality and also causes ANS dysfunction.

Keywords: Autonomic dysfunction; erectile dysfunction; heart rate recovery.