Background: Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a major health problem that affects a significant
proportion of the general population, and its prevalence is even higher in patients with CV risk factors
and/or disease. ED and cardiovascular (CV) disease share several common pathophysiological mechanisms,
and thus, the potential role of ED as a predictor of CV events has emerged as a significant research
Objective: The purpose of this review is to present and critically discuss data assessing the relation between
ED and CV disease and the potential predictive value of ED for CV events.
Methods: A comprehensive review of the literature has been performed to identify studies evaluating
the association between ED and CV disease.
Results: Several cross-sectional and prospective studies have examined the association between ED and
CV disease and found an increased prevalence of ED in patients with CV disease. ED was shown to
independently predict future CV events. Importantly, ED was found to precede the development of overt
coronary artery disease (CAD) by 3 to 5 years, offering a “time window” to properly manage these patients
before the clinical manifestation of CAD. Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors are the first-line
treatment option for ED and were shown to be safe in terms of CV events in patients with and without
Conclusion: Accumulating evidence supports a strong predictive role of ED for CV events. Early identification
of ED could allow for the optimal management of these patients to reduce the risk for a CV
event to occur.