Erectile dysfunction indicates high risk of heart attack
14 July 2010
A Malaysian study has found that seven out of 10 men admitted
to hospital for a heart attack had erectile dysfunction (ED) in the six
months prior to their admission. The results were presented at the World
Congress of Cardiology (WCC) in Beijing, China, last month.
The year-long study involving 111 sexually active men at the
University Malaya Medical Centre, admitted for acute ST segment
elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), demonstrated that 75.7% had
experienced ED in the six months prior to being hospitalized, and
all patients with a prior history of ischemic heart disease had ED
(Fisher Exact Test, p=0.020). Moreover, 24.7% of the 81 sexually
inactive men that were not recruited to the study reported complete
ED for more than six months prior to screening.
ED and coronary artery disease (CAD) share many common risk
factors and are closely related. Atherosclerosis, the root cause of
CAD and ED, is a generalized inflammatory disorder that progresses
at a similar rate throughout the vasculature of the body. Therefore,
it is thought that ED should precede CAD since the penile arteries
are considerably smaller than the coronary arteries.
"This study demonstrates that we should consider patients with
evidence of ED to be of very high risk for development of future
acute coronary syndromes. Interestingly, the study also found that
all patients with a prior history of heart attack and ED presented
with recurrent heart attacks. Therefore, we should screen and treat
such patients very aggressively," said Dr. S V Ramesh, University of
Malay Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
"Moreover, men who are not sexually active should also be closely
assessed as a quarter of them have complete ED which warrants
treatment and this may also be a harbinger for CAD."
A total of 219 men were admitted for STEMI to the coronary care
unit from April 2008 to February 2009. Of these, 192 were screened
and only 111 who were sexually active within the last six months
were recruited for the assessment of ED using the IIEF-5
questionnaire. Other indices studied include the cardiovascular (CV)
risk factors, body measurements, blood results and coronary