Erectile dysfunction as a cardiovascular risk factor: time to step up?.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a major health problem that affects a significant proportion of the general population, and its prevalence is even higher in patients with CV risk factors and/or disease. ED and cardiovascular (CV) disease share several common pathophysiological mechanisms and thus, the potential role of ED as a predictor of CV events has emerged as a significant research aspect.

The purpose of this review is to present and critically discuss data assessing the relation between ED and CV disease and the potential predictive value of ED for CV events.

A comprehensive review of the literature has been performed to identify studies evaluating the association between ED and CV disease.

Several cross-sectional and prospective studies have examined the association of ED and CV disease and found an increased prevalence of ED in patients with CV disease. ED was shown to independently predict future CV events. Importantly, ED was found to precede the development of overt coronary artery disease (CAD) by 3 to 5 years, offering a "time window" to properly manage these patients before the clinical manifestation of CAD. Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors are the first line treatment for ED and were shown to be safe in terms of CV events in patients with and without CV disease.

Accumulating evidence supports a strong predictive role of ED for CV events. Early identification of ED could allow for the optimal management of these patients to reduce the risk for a CV event to occur.

Current vascular pharmacology. 2020 Apr 13 [Epub ahead of print]

Konstantinos Imprialos, Konstantinos Koutsampasopoulos, Athanasios Manolis, Michael Doumas

Second Propaedeutic Department of Internal Medicine, Medical School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Hippokration Hospital, Thessaloniki. Greece., Cardiology Department, Asklepeion General Hospital, Athens. Greece.