Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency: An etiology for idiopathic priapism?

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30 Scopus citations


Introduction. Efforts to identify the health risk associations for priapism may reveal pathophysiologic mechanisms for the disorder and suggest a scientifically rational approach for correcting it. Aim. We describe a clinical presentation of idiopathic recurrent priapism in a patient with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency and consider a possible nitric oxide (NO)-dependent mechanistic basis from which the medical condition causes priapism. Methods. The case report profiled a 35-year-old African-American man with G6PD deficiency who presented with a rapid progression of recurrent priapism episodes. He was outwardly healthy and did not have sickle cell disease or trait by hematologic screening. His management featured use of a long-term, continuous phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor therapeutic regimen. Main Outcome Measures. Clinical history data and response to PDE5 inhibitor therapy. Results. After a 3-month duration of PDE5 inhibitor therapy, priapism recurrences were sufficiently resolved and the patient discontinued therapy. At 18-month clinical follow-up, he experienced only minor priapism recurrences and retention of full erectile ability. Conclusions. G6PD deficiency offers an explanation for idiopathic priapism. The medical condition generates a pathophysiologic milieu consistent with aberrant NO signaling and heightened oxidative stress in the penis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-240
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Erection
  • Nitric oxide
  • Oxidative stress
  • Penis
  • Sildenafil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Urology


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