Link between erectile dysfunction and heart disease

Washington: Having problems in bed? Go for a heart check-up, for a new study has found a link between erectile dysfunction and coronary artery calcification which is a known predictor of future cardiovascular events.

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have carried out the study and found that men suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED) are at an increased risk of high coronary artery calcification scores (CACS).

For the study, the researchers evaluated 1,119 men enrolled in the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program, 327 of which had ED.

The researchers learned that after adjusting for comorbidities men with ED had a 54 percent greater likelihood of having a high-risk CACS than men without ED. The increased risk was similar to that of patients with a history of hypertension and smoking.

"Our data further solidify the concept that ED is a harbinger-indicator of current and future cardiovascular disease. These data show an indisputable connection between ED and atherosclerosis," said Natan Bar-Chama, who led the study.

The mean age of the men in the study was 50.5 years. All patients were evaluated with a cardiac CT scan to determine CACS. Erectile dysfunction was assessed using a validated questionnaire and defined as a Sexual Health Inventory for Men score of less than 22.

After adjusting for risk factors like diabetes, smoking, and body mass index, the researchers determined that ED was independently associated with a 54 per cent increased risk of CACS.

"The finding certainly raises the question as to what diagnostic tests we should perform in the newly diagnosed ED patient in order to assess cardiovascular risk.

"For example, should we be recommending that CACS scores be obtained in all these patients? Also, should we routinely be measuring serum inflammatory markers, conducting assessment of endothelial function or cardiac stress testing?

"Guidelines are urgently needed to stratify cardiovascular risk in the newly diagnosed ED patient in light of the significant and clear association between ED and cardiovascular disease," said Bar-Chama.

The findings were recently presented at the American Urological Association meeting in San Francisco.


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