SAN FRANCISCO—New research implicates erectile dysfunction (ED) as an independent risk factor for high-risk coronary artery calcification.

A team from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City used coronary artery calcium scores (CACS) to examine the relationship between ED and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 1,119 men undergoing CVD screening.

Coronary artery calcium scores are recognized as a surrogate marker for underlying atherosclerosis, and a high CACS confers an increased risk of a major coronary event.

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After adjusting for other CVD risk factors including diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and smoking, men with ED were 54% more likely to have high-risk CACS than men without ED.

Notably, the increased relative risk of ED was on a par with the increased relative risk of hypertension and smoking.

“The study is the first to demonstrate an independent association between ED and high-risk CACS after adjusting for known CVD risk factors,” observed Natan Bar-Chama, MD, Director of Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery and Associate Professor of Urology.

The findings, presented at the American Urological Association annual meeting, suggest that diagnostic tests may be useful in newly diagnosed ED patients in order to assess CVD risk, he added. Specific guidelines for CVD screening in ED patients are needed but have yet to be established, however.