Results from a study published in the current issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that screening for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in men presenting erectile dysfunction (ED) can be a cost-effective intervention for secondary prevention of both CVD and, over a longer term, ED.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the persistent inability to reach or keep penile erection for pleasing sexual performance. The situation is estimated to affect more than 18 million men in the United States. Worldwide, ED has been found to cost more than $1 billion a year on pharmacological treatments. Recent evidence has been supporting an association between cardiovascular disease (CVD) and ED, as both conditions have similar risk factors including hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, obesity, and smoking. Researchers suggest that because penile arteries have a smaller diameter than coronary arteries, the earliest manifestation of CVD may be ED.
In their study entitled “Erectile Dysfunction as a Marker for Cardiovascular Disease Diagnosis and Intervention: A Cost Analysis,” Alexander W. Pastuszak, MD, PhD from the Center for Reproductive Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and colleagues, performed a cost analysis for screening men over 20 years of age presenting ED for CVD, and assessed the cost and impact of screening and treating these men for CVD.
Results revealed that the relative risk of ED in men with CVD is 1.47 and the prevalence of both ED and CVD was estimated to number 1,991,520 patients in the U.S. Researchers also found that nearly 44% of men with CVD risk factors are uninformed of their risk. Findings indicated that if all men with ED were screened for CVD, 5.8 million men with previously undetermined CVD risk factors would be identified over 20 years, costing $2.7 billion to screen. Admitting a decrease of 20% in CVD events resulting from screening and treatment, 1.1 million cardiovascular events would be prevented, resulting in savings of $21.3 billion in a period of time of 20 years. Also, 1.1 million cases of ED would be treated, saving $9.7 billion. Considering the costs all together the results showed that the reduction in acute CVD and ED treatment cost would save $28.5 billion in a period of time of 20 years.
“These findings further substantiate the recommendations of the Princeton Consensus Conference encouraging cardiovascular risk stratification in men with erectile dysfunction. We can now highlight the economic benefits of this screening approach and its impact on the healthcare system,” said Dr. Alexander Pastuszak in a recent news release.