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BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 05 January 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:38
  1. Alison Tonks, associate editor (

    Erectile dysfunction could signal cardiovascular disease

    Healthy older men who develop erectile dysfunction could be harbouring occult cardiovascular disease, according to a recent study. In a cohort of 8063 US men aged 55 or over with no cardiovascular disease, 4247 had normal erectile function at study entry. Of these, the 2420 (57%) who developed new erection problems during five years of follow-up were 25% more likely to have a later cardiovascular event than the men who did not (hazard ratio 1.25, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.53). An analysis that included the 3816 men with erection problems at study entry found an even stronger association between erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular disease (1.45, 1.25 to 1.69). The authors estimate that erectile dysfunction is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease of about the same magnitude as family history or smoking.

    This is not the first study to find a link between erection problems and cardiovascular events such as heart attack, angina, or stroke. But the authors say they are the first to use prospective data to show …

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