Erectile dysfunction a potential marker of venous thromboembolism risk
The risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in men appears to be elevated in the presence of erectile dysfunction (ED), a study has reported.
Researchers looked at 27,771 men participating in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) who had no VTE and prostate cancer at baseline. All participants completed biennial mailed questionnaires to report their current erectile function, which was categorized as ED presence (very poor or poor erectile function) or ED absence (fair, good or very good). Self-reported incident VTE included the first occurrence of either pulmonary embolism (PE) or deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
The average age of the cohort was 65 years, and 31 percent of men reported ED presence. A total of 665 VTE events occurred over 256,678 person-years of follow-up.
In multivariable Cox proportional hazards models, ED presence was associated with a 30-percent increase in the risk of developing VTE (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.3; 95 percent CI, 1.1–1.6; erectile function linear ptrend=0.003).
Results were similar in a subgroup analysis limited to men with confirmed PE (n=196; PEs confirmed by medical record review/participant reconfirmation or self-reported among persons with prior cancer; adjusted HR, 1.3; 0.9–1.8).
Analyses were adjusted for traditional cardiovascular risk factors including age, smoking, body mass index, physical activity, caloric intake, race, alcohol consumption, aspirin use, diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, myocardial infarction/angina, and cancer.
The present data indicate that ED presence may signal a higher risk of VTE, researchers said. Erectile function requires both intact arterial inflow and venous occlusion, and it has thus been suggested that ED could be a marker of cardiovascular risk.