If all men visiting the doctor’s office for erectile dysfunction (ED) were screened for cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, the savings in health care costs over 20 years could be substantial -- and save lives, according to a new study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
As ED predicts CVD, it could represent a short window of opportunity for treatment before coronary events occur. The Princeton Consensus Conference recommends evaluating men with ED for CVD. A third or more men in the U.S. have undiagnosed risk factors, such as high cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes. Far too often, the first sign of heart disease in such patients is sudden cardiac death.
Researchers in this study modeled the costs of CVD screening and compared them with likely outcomes. If men with ED were screened and treated for CVD risk factors, it could prevent 1.1 million acute CVD events at a cost saving of $21.3 billion over 20 years. If it likewise reduced the ED burden, it could save additional $9.7 billion.
To put it another way, screening just 12 men with ED and treating them can prevent one acute CVD event. For every dollar spent on screening, $10.80 in direct costs of acute CVD and ED care would be saved.
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New research reveals that screening for cardiovascular disease in men presenting with erectile dysfunction may be a cost-effective intervention for preventing both cardiovascular disease and, over the longer term, erectile dysfunction.
If all men presenting with erectile dysfunction were screened for cardiovascular disease, 5.8 million men with previously unknown heart-related risk factors would be identified over 20 years, costing $2.7 billion to screen. Assuming a 20% decrease in cardiovascular events as a result of screening and treatment, 1.1 million cardiovascular events would be avoided, saving $21.3 billion over 20 years.