Vol 22, No 4 (2015)
Original articles
Published online: 2015-08-28

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Can thromboembolic risk be associated with erectile dysfunction in atrial fibrillation patients?

Filip M. Szymański, Krzysztof J. Filipiak, Anna E. Płatek, Marcin Kotkowski, Grzegorz Opolski
DOI: 10.5603/CJ.a2015.0010
Pubmed: 25733318
Cardiol J 2015;22(4):446-452.


Background: Erectile dysfunction (ED) is highly prevalent in patients with diseases of cardiovascular system, including patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Reasons for this high co-prevalence include endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, oxidative and emotional stress associated with AF. Association of AF-induced prothrombotic state and possible microthrombi in penile arteries with ED remains unclear. The present study aims to assess if probability of AF-associated risk of peripheral thromboembolism may be associated with ED in AF patients.

Methods: Probability of thromboembolic complications was assessed with two commonly used risk scores CHADS2 and CHA2DS2-VASc in a group of continuous AF patients. All patients were also asked to fill an IIEF-5 questionnaire designed for screening for ED.

Results: Mean CHADS2 score in the whole study group was 1.1 ± 1.0 points and CHA2DS2- -VASc was 1.5 ± 1.4 points. ED was present in 57.4% of the 129-person study population. In patients with ED, both CHADS2 (0.9 ± 1.0 vs. 1.3 ± 1.1; p = 0.03) and CHA2DS2-VASc (1.2 ± 1.1 vs. 1.8 ± 1.5; p = 0.03) scores were significantly higher than in the group without dysfunction. After dividing the patients according to age into groups younger than 65 years vs. ≥ 65 years, observed correlation was no longer significant in the younger group (p > 0.05). In patients ≥ 65 years, in whom the risk scores are routinely used, dysfunction both CHADS2 (1.1 ± 0.9 vs. 2.0 ± 0.9; p = 0.02) and CHA2DS2-VASc (2.3 ± 1.1 vs. 3.4 ± 1.3; p = 0.04) scores were higher in the group with ED.

Conclusions: Erectile dysfunctions in AF patients are associated with elevated cardioembolic risk. We postulate that the diagnosis of ED should be considered an additional marker of prothrombotic state, and may be useful in clinical decision-making, especially in patients ≥ 65 years old.