Arteriogenic erectile impotence

P Metz
Danish Medical Bulletin 1986, 33 (3): 134-50
Organic causes of erectile impotence, including penile arterial insufficiency, is far more frequent than previously assumed. The aim of this review (based on the literature and previous works of the author) is to define arteriogenic erectile impotence, and to describe its pathophysiological and clinical features, the diagnostic approach, differential diagnostic aspects and possible treatment of this type of impotence. Erectile impotence is inability to react to relevant sexual stimulation, with a change in pelvic and penile hemodynamics that will increase the pressure in the cavernous bodies thus enabling vaginal intromission without special precautions; as well as inability to maintain this pressure ordinarily until ejaculation occurs. Arteriogenic erectile impotence is erectile impotence caused by insufficient arterial blood supply to the cavernous bodies regardless of the arterial disease or abnormality responsible for the insufficiency. The normal mechanism of erection is not fully understood. Accumulation of blood under pressure in the cavernous body is brought about by dilation of the arteries to the cavernous spaces and closure of the drainage from the cavernous body. The drainage blockade is active and located just inside the tunica albuginea at the origin of the emissary veins. The mechanism is probably related to the smooth muscles of the cavernous body which become relaxed at the start of erection. Furthermore, passive out-flow restriction probably supporting the active closure when the cavernous body is distended. The autonomic nerves regulating the erection come from Th10-L2 and S2-S4 and pass the pelvic plexus. The target organ neurotransmitters are probably vasoactive intestinal polypeptide and catecholamines. Penile arterial insufficiency can be demonstrated by penile blood pressure measurement either as a simple measurement, or, better, as pelvic steal test and hyperemic stress test. Ultrasonic Doppler pulse curve analysis is another way of demonstrating penile arterial insufficiency. Visualization of the arterial disease causing penile arterial insufficiency requires bilateral selective internal iliac arteriography.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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