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Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Men with chronic heart failure can have active sex lives
Date:10/4/2007

to counsel and treat chronic heart failure patients who are coping with erectile dysfunction, difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection. Researchers estimate that erectile dysfunction affects 60 percent to 70 percent of people who have chronic heart failure.

The authors observe that multiple factors may be involved. In addition to decreased exercise capacity, patients with chronic heart failure have blood vessel and circulation abnormalities that can reduce blood flow into the penis and interfere with the ability to maintain an erection. And erectile dysfunction can be caused or worsened by many of the medications that are commonly prescribed to treat chronic heart failure.

Currently, the preferred treatment for erectile dysfunction includes sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra) and tadalafil (Cialis). However, numerous experts have raised concerns about the use of these drugs in patients with chronic heart failure who also take nitrates (or other medications that relax and widen blood vessels). This drug combination has been shown to be dangerous, because it can increase the risk for a life-threatening drop in blood pressure.

To further explore this potential risk, the authors reviewed results from a variety of studies in which male patients with congestive heart failure took sildenafil. The authors observed that more data are needed to determine the safety of the newer drugs, vardenafil and tadalafil, for these patients.

Taken together, these studies show that erectile dysfunction in patients with mild to moderate chronic heart failure can be safely and effectively treated with sildenafil, provided that patients are appropriately screened before therapy, say the authors.

For those patients who cannot take erectile dysfunction medications, the authors counsel that an exercise training regimen may be an appropriate substitute therapy to enhance sexual function and quality of life. The authors stress that cli
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Contact: John Murphy
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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