There is no doubt that there is a connection between heart disease and erectile dysfunction or ED. The blood supply to the penis is through blood vessels that are less than half the size of the blood vessels to the penis and therefore are problems with erections are often preceded prior to problems with the heart.
Patients with heart disease who have severe erectile dysfunction should receive more ‘aggressive’ cardiac rehab care because they have such a poor prognosis relative to other patients with more normal sexual function, researchers reported at the European Society of Cardiology annual scientific meeting this week.
A study looking at the outcomes of 373 patients undergoing cardiac rehabilitation over 30 months found that the 62 patients with severe erectile dysfunction had a three fold higher risk of adverse cardiac events and death than the rest of the patients, even after accounting for their greater risk from other factors.
The researchers concluded: ‘Presence and severity of erectile dysfunction is a strong determinant of coronary heart disease prognosis, independently of age, functional capacity and other cardiovascular risk factors.
Routine assessment of sexual function is therefore warranted in cardiac rehabilitation programs and presence of severe erectile dysfunction may determine a more aggressive and holistic approach to cardiac rehabilitation in coronary heart disease.’
In another presentation, researchers found patients with chronic heart failure need to undertake high-intensity aerobic exercise to help regain sexual function.
Among 20 patients with stable heart failure, aged on average 53 years, a 12-week high-intensity interval training program led to increased erectile function, desire and sexual satisfaction as well as improved quality of life, whereas a moderate intensity continuous training program only improved patients’ quality of life.
Bottom Lline The researchers concluded: In patients with chronic heart failure, only high intensity aerobic training improved sexual function, while quality of life improved with both intensities of exercise.