Functional electrical stimulation effective for erectile dysfunction
Functional electrical stimulation (FES) may be an effective treatment approach to erectile dysfunction, as it produces improvements in quality of life, according to a recent study.
Erectile dysfunction patients who received the FES intervention showed significant improvements from baseline in the erection hardness score (EHS; 1.73±0.13 to 2.82±0.3 points; p<0.0001; mean difference, 1.1 points; p<0.05).
Similar improvements were observed when the outcome was measured using the International Index of Erectile Function-5 (IIEF-5; 11±1.2 to 16±1.7 points; p<0.0001; mean difference, 5 points; p<0.05).
In contrast, no such improvements over time were seen in the patients who received the placebo intervention (EHS: 1.64±0.19 to 1.82±0.17 points; mean difference, 0.18 points; IIEF-5: 11.4±1.3 to 11.4±1.4 points; mean difference, 0 points).
In terms of quality of life, the FES intervention similarly produced significant improvements in all domains of the WHO Quality of Life instrument, except for the environment domain (physical health: 52.3±3 to 67.7±4.1; social relationships: 41.8±2.4 to 66.8±4; psychological: 47.3±2 to 67.3±2.9; p<0.0001 for all).
In comparison, placebo patients showed improvements only in the psychological (47.3±2.2 to 50.4±2) and social relationships (39.5±3.5 to 43.6±4.5; p<0.0001 for both) domains.
“Further studies should be carried [out] to corroborate our results, aiming to improve the methods of evaluation establishing the physiopathology pathways of the FES in the [nitric oxide] release, and finding selection criteria for patients suitable for this treatment,” said researchers.
For the present randomized controlled trial, 22 erectile dysfunction patients were randomized to receive either FES (50 Hz/500 µs; n=11; mean age 58.6±5.3 years) or placebo (n=11; mean age 58.4±5.8 years). FES was delivered during two weekly sessions each lasting 15 minutes. The trial duration was 4 weeks.