Erectile dysfunction, which has been associated with mortality in the general population, is common in individuals on hemodialysis. Our aim was to determine the relationship between erectile dysfunction, coronary artery calcification and mortality in incident hemodialysis patients.
A prospective cohort of incident adult dialysis patients with no history of coronary artery disease underwent coronary artery calcification measurement by ECG-triggered multi-slice computed tomography (MSCT) scan at baseline and at least 12 months later. Erectile dysfunction was determined using the 15-item validated International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-15) questionnaire.
Erectile dysfunction was prevalent in 83% of patients, with 43% classified as severe erectile dysfunction, 22.4% as moderate erectile dysfunction, and 17.2% as mild erectile dysfunction. The median (IQR) coronary artery calcification score was 43.4 (0.25-353.8) for those with erectile dysfunction and 0 (0-0) for those without erectile dysfunction (p = 0.007). More than half (55.6%) of the patients with erectile dysfunction experienced progression of coronary artery calcification compared to 14.3% of patients without erectile dysfunction (p = 0.05). Mortality was 21% during an average follow-up of 5.2 (1.3) years. Twenty-three percent of patients with erectile dysfunction died compared to 10% of people without erectile dysfunction (p = 0.4). Erectile dysfunction was not significantly associated with mortality [HR 1.2 (1.3), p = 0.87].
Erectile dysfunction is common in individuals who start dialysis. It is significantly associated with an increased coronary artery calcification score, however, it is not associated with increased mortality in incident dialysis patients with no history of coronary artery disease.