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ECE: Testosterone, ED Tied to Higher Cardiac Mortality Risk

Also, reduced penile blood flow associated with higher risk of cardiac events in obese men

WEDNESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Low testosterone levels in men with erectile dysfunction (ED) are associated with an increased risk of dying of cardiovascular disease, according to a study presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology, held from April 24 to 28 in Prague, Czech Republic. A study by the same researchers also presented at the meeting found that impaired penile blood flow is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in obese men with ED more than in leaner men with the condition.

Giovanni Corona, M.D., of the University of Florence in Italy, and colleagues conducted an observational, prospective, cohort study of 1,687 men being seen for ED. Over an average 4.3 years of follow-up, 139 of the patients experienced a major cardiac event, and 15 of them died. The researchers found that low testosterone levels were not linked to major cardiac events; however, of patients who had a major cardiac event, those with the lowest testosterone were significantly more likely to die than those with the highest testosterone.

In the second study, which involved the same subjects, the researchers stratified the men into three obesity classes based on body mass index (BMI): normal-weight, overweight and obese. The researchers found that obesity class and the presence of arteriogenic ED were independently and significantly associated with cardiac events. The researchers also performed a different analysis for classes of obesity, and found that reduced penile blood flow was significantly associated with the incidence of major cardiac events in obese men (BMI greater than 30 kg/m2) but not in leaner men.

"Taking these results together, we can say that, referral for ED should become an opportunity -- for the patient and for the doctor -- to screen for general health. In one sense, the diagnosis of ED offers these patients a unique chance to undergo a medical examination and therefore to improve not only their sexual but, most importantly, their overall health," Corona said in a statement.

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