Erectile Dysfunction and Cardiovascular Events in Diabetic Men: A Meta-analysis of Observational Studies


Several studies have shown that erectile dysfunction (ED) influences the risk of cardiovascular events (CV events). However, a meta-analysis of the overall risk of CV events associated with ED in patients with diabetes has not been performed.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We searched MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library for pertinent articles (including references) published between 1951 and April 22, 2012. English language reports of original observational cohort studies and cross-sectional studies were included. Pooled effect estimates were obtained by random effects meta-analysis.

A total of 3,791 CV events were reported in 3 cohort studies and 9 cross-sectional studies (covering 22,586 subjects). Across the cohort studies, the overall odds ratio (OR) of diabetic men with ED versus those without ED was 1.74 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.34–2.27; P<0.001) for CV events and 1.72 (95% CI: 1.5–1.98; P<0.001) for coronary heart disease (CHD). The funnel plot, Begg's test, and Egger's test did not show evidence of publication bias (all P>0.05). Moreover, meta-regression analysis found no relationship between the method used to assess ED (questionnaire or interview), mean age, mean hemoglobin A1c, mean body mass index, or mean duration of diabetes and the risk of CV events or CHD. In the cross-sectional studies, the OR of diabetic men with ED versus those without ED was 3.39 (95% CI: 2.58–4.44; P<0.001) for CV events (N = 9), 3.43 (95% CI: 2.46–4.77; P<0.001) for CHD (N = 7), and 2.63 (95% CI: 1.41–4.91; P = 0.002) for peripheral vascular disease (N = 5).


ED was associated with an increased risk of CV events in diabetic patients. Prevention and early detection of cardiovascular disease are important in the management of diabetes, especially in view of the rapid increase in its prevalence.