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Perspectives

Clinical implications of erectile dysfunction: a new paradigm in the investigation for cardiovascular risk

Kew Kim Chew, Bronwyn Stuckey, Peter L Thompson

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Abstract

Erectile dysfunction is a novel marker and predictor for future atherosclerotic cardiovascular events.

Key Points

  • Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a novel marker and predictor for future atherosclerotic cardiovascular (CV) events and death due to CV causes.
  • Atherosclerosis resulting from dysfunction of the vascular endothelium is common to both ED and CV disease (CVD).
  • Atherosclerotic changes are likely to be evident earlier in arteries of smaller calibre, such as those in the penile vasculature, than in the larger arteries of the coronary circulation.
  • In spite of their increased risk of death due to CV causes, almost as many men with ED die from cancers as from CV causes, and these cancer deaths occur sooner.
  • Rigorous investigation of men with ED provides information on their individual CV risk and opportunities for its early minimisation.

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