Priapism: a refined approach to diagnosis and treatment

J Urol. 1986 Jul;136(1):104-8. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5347(17)44746-x.


The recent introduction of intracorporeal injections of papaverine and phentolamine for the diagnosis and treatment of impotence has resulted in an increased incidence of iatrogenic priapism. Based on our research into penile hemodynamics we propose a refined approach to all types of priapism. Intracorporeal blood gas and pressure monitoring should be used to differentiate ischemic (low flow) from nonischemic (high flow) types. Most cases of papaverine-induced or phentolamine-induced priapism will respond to aspiration alone or in combination with intracorporeal instillation of a diluted alpha-adrenergic agent. In spontaneous priapism alpha-adrenergic agents can be tried first if patients have only mild or no ischemia. In patients with severe ischemia stagnant blood should be evacuated and a shunt procedure should be performed to allow metabolic replenishment of tissue. Intracorporeal pressure monitoring will help to determine the size and number of shunts needed to re-establish corporeal circulation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Ischemia / drug therapy
  • Ischemia / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norepinephrine / therapeutic use
  • Penis / blood supply
  • Priapism / diagnosis*
  • Priapism / drug therapy
  • Priapism / surgery


  • Norepinephrine