Impotent? Maybe You Should See a Cardiologist


Troubles in the bedroom can be a double whammy for older men: Researchers have found that erectile dysfunction ups the risk for heart disease

Their study concluded that men whose impotence is vascular-related, are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke or sudden cardiac death.

This was true even without other heart risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a history of smoking.

The link between impotence and heart disease appears to be a two-way street, given that men who have had a heart attack appear to face a higher risk for Erectile Dysfunction.

For this study, the investigators tracked the heart health of about 1,900 men, ages 60 to 78, with and without vascular-related impotence.

Vascular impotence is at its root a cardiovascular problem. Unlike impotence related to anxiety or other psychological concerns, vascular ED stems from arterial blockage and insufficient blood flow.

Erectile Dysfunction may be a sign of subclinical cardiovascular dysfunction.

Experts have long observed that impotence is associated with poor cardiovascular health, but it was thought that obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes were some of the reasons why.

This study found that impotence on its own is a significant risk factor.

In addition, this signal for increased risk is independent of depression and medication usage. That appears to negate theories that depression or its treatment might explain any link between impotence and heart disease.

Study participants were enrolled in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, conducted in several U.S. cities. Over four years, 115 men had a serious heart problem, such as heart attack, stroke or cardiac arrest.

The investigators determined that just over 6 percent of men with ED experienced such an event, compared with just under 3 percent of sexually healthy men.

So what should an impotent man do?

To visit to a doctor or a preventive cardiologist. In some cases, these men need screening for early cardiovascular disease.

Many men at risk for cardiovascular disease seek medical care not for management of risk factors, but for their Erectile Dysfunction. Our study is an alert that such patients need a thorough cardiovascular evaluation in addition to their treatment for ED.

Health care providers should consider including ED as a component of assessing cardiovascular risk among middle-aged men.


Uddin SMI, Mirbolouk M, Dardari Z, Feldman D, Cainzos-Achirica M, DeFilippis AP, Greenland P, Blankstein R, Billups KL, Miner M, Nasir K, Blaha MJ. Erectile Dysfunction as an Independent Predictor of Future Cardiovascular Events: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Circulation. 2018 Jun 11. pii: CIRCULATIONAHA.118.033990. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.033990.