Erectile dysfunction: A sentinel marker for cardiovascular disease in primary care
Martin M. Miner, MD
Department of Family Medicine, Brown University School of Medicine, Providence, RI
Swansea Family Practice Group, Swansea, MA
Louis Kuritzky, MD
Department of Community Health and Family Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Correspondence: Martin M. Miner, MD, Swansea Family Practice Group, 479 Swansea Mall Drive, Swansea, MA 02777; email@example.com
Dr. Kuritzky reported that he has received honoraria from Pfizer, Eli Lilly, ICOS, Bayer, and GlaxoSmithKline for teaching/speaking or consulting.
Dr. Miner reported that he has received a research grant from Auxilium Pharmaceuticals and consulting fees from GlaxoSmithKline/Schering-Plough and Sanofi-Aventis for consulting and serving on speakers’ bureaus.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common, age-related disorder that diminishes quality of life for affected men and their partners. While most ED is now recognized as organic in origin, both organic and psychogenic causes often conspire to reduce sexual function in men with ED. Vasculopathy has come to be recognized as the most common cause of ED, which has elevated ED's importance in the primary care setting as a sentinel to underlying cardiovascular disease. Identification of cardiovascular risk factors should be a routine part of the evaluation for ED and is as important as taking the patient's sexual, medication, and psychosocial histories. Involving the patient's partner in evaluation and management is often valuable. Treatment with phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors is effective in restoring sexual function for most men with ED, but patients and their partners should be encouraged to make an informed choice from among all available treatment options.