Impaired brachial artery endothelium-dependent and -independent vasodilation in men with erectile dysfunction and no other clinical cardiovascular disease

Daniel R Kaiser, Kevin Billups, Carol Mason, Rebecca Wetterling, Jennifer L Lundberg, Alan J Bank
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2004 January 21, 43 (2): 179-84

OBJECTIVES: The goal of this study was to determine whether patients with vascular erectile dysfunction (ED) and no other clinical cardiovascular disease have structural and functional abnormalities of other vascular beds.

BACKGROUND: In many ED patients, vascular disease is the major underlying cause. It may be that ED is an early marker of atherosclerosis in patients without clinical cardiovascular disease.

METHOD: We assessed systemic vascular structure and function in 30 patients with ED and 27 age-matched normal control (NL) subjects. We measured vascular parameters, including: 1) carotid and brachial artery diameters, intima-media thickness, compliance, and distensibility; 2) aortic pulse wave velocity; 3) coronary calcification; and 4) brachial artery endothelium-dependent and -independent vasodilation.

RESULTS: There were no significant differences in baseline demographics, coronary artery risk score, or lipid values between the two groups. Most structural and functional vascular parameters were similar in the ED and NL groups. Brachial artery flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) (1.3 vs. 2.4%, p = 0.014) and vasodilation to nitroglycerin (NTG) (13.0 vs. 17.8%, p < 0.05) were significantly reduced in ED patients, compared with NL subjects. In addition, there was a significant correlation between FMD and vasodilation to NTG in ED patients (r = 0.59, p < 0.05) but not in NL subjects.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with ED but no clinical cardiovascular disease have a peripheral vascular defect in endothelium-dependent and -independent vasodilation that occurs before the development of other overt functional or structural systemic vascular disease and is independent of other traditional cardiovascular risk factors.

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