Over 50% of elderly men and 70% of male cardiac patients suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED). Although pharmacotherapy is effective and safe, it only brings a short-term improvement and may cause side effects. Low energy shock-wave therapy (LESWT) is a promising causative modality for the treatment of ED. The evidence is still limited with different results obtained using different devices. The aim of this work was to evaluate evidence from randomized controlled trials regarding the efficacy of LESWT generated by an electrohydraulic unit for the treatment of ED.
A systematic review of the literature was conducted in PubMed on May 20th, 2018 and supplemented by a Google search of grey literature, as well as a hand search of the bibliographies of retrieved articles. Out of 34 studies, 5 studies on 354 patients were included in the quantitative synthesis.
The studies evaluated an abridged International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5), the Erectile Hardness Scale (EHS) and Flow-Mediated Dilatation (FMD). The meta-analysis revealed that LESWT improved the IIEF-5 score (mean difference: 5.16; 95% CI, 1.39-8.93; p=0.0073) and EHS score (risk difference:0.72; 95% CI, 0.73-0.80; p<0.001). Reporting of FMD was inconsistent and not analyzed. The meta-analysis of studies conducted with electrohydraulic devices showed greater benefits to patients in comparison to the meta-analyses of heterogeneous studies conducted using various devices for generating shock waves.
Evidence exists that LESWT generated with an electrohydraulic unit is effective. Further research is needed in order to evaluate this method in different patient populations and for the long-term.