Erectile Dysfunction as a Precursor to Cardiovascular Disease

A 10 year study begun in 1996 (Innman et al, Mayo Clin Proc,2009,84:108-113) examined a random sample of men every two years.  The patients in this study had regular sexual partners and no evidence of cardiovascular disease (CAD) at the beginning of the study.

One particular finding of this study caused a change in the way we, as Urologists, evaluate men with erectile dysfunction (ED). They divided the groups into men ages 40-49, ages 50-59, ages 60-69 and ages over 70+. ED was present in 2% men in their 40’s, 6% of men in their 50’s, 17% of men in their 60’s and 39% for men older than 70.

11% of men developed CAD over the ensuing 10 years. For men with ED at the beginning of the study, the rate at which CAD occurred (incidence density)  was in 48 of men in their 40’s, 27 of men in their 50’s, 24 of men in their 60’s and 30 of men older than 70. Stated another way there was nearly a 50-fold increase in the 10 year incidence of coronary artery disease in men aged 49 years and younger who were initially diagnosed with ED!

This is a remarkable finding!  This suggests that there might be a “window of opportunity” for preventing or slowing the progression of CAD.  This study, and others like it have made a comprehensive evaluation of the younger man presenting with erectile dysfunction a necessity.


If you would like more information or would like to make an appointment, please contact:

Bruce R.Gilbert, M.D., Ph.D. at 516-487-2700 or