Erectile dysfunction (ED) is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and CVD mortality. However, the relationship between ED and subclinical CVD is less clear. We synthesized the available data on the association of ED and measures of subclinical CVD. We searched multiple databases for published literature on studies examining the association of ED and measures of subclinical CVD across four domains: endothelial dysfunction measured by flow-mediated dilation (FMD), carotid intima–media thickness (cIMT), coronary artery calcification (CAC), and other measures of vascular function such as the ankle–brachial index, toe–brachial index, and pulse wave velocity. We conducted random effects meta-analysis and meta-regression on studies that examined an ED relationship with FMD (15 studies; 2025 participants) and cIMT (12 studies; 1264 participants). ED was associated with a 2.64 percentage-point reduction in FMD compared to those without ED (95% CI: –3.12, −2.15). Persons with ED also had a 0.09-mm (95% CI: 0.06, 0.12) higher cIMT than those without ED. In subgroup meta-analyses, the mean age of the study population, study quality, ED assessment questionnaire (IIEF-5 or IIEF-15), or the publication date did not significantly affect the relationship between ED and cIMT or between ED and FMD. The results for the association of ED and CAC were inconclusive. In conclusion, this study confirms an association between ED and subclinical CVD and may shed additional light on the shared mechanisms between ED and CVD, underscoring the importance of aggressive CVD risk assessment and management in persons with ED.
- coronary artery calcification
- endothelial dysfunction
- erectile dysfunction
- subclinical cardiovascular disease, carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine