Sexual dysfunction is highly prevalent in both sexes and adversely affects patients' quality of life and well being. Given the frequent association between sexual dysfunction and cardiovascular disease, in addition to the potential cardiac risk of sexual activity itself, a consensus panel was convened to develop recommendations for clinical management of sexual dysfunction in patients with cardiovascular disease. Based upon a review of the research and presentations by invited experts, a classification system was developed for stratification of patients into high, low, and intermediate categories of cardiac risk. The large majority of patients are in the low-risk category, which includes patients with (1) controlled hypertension; (2) mild, stable angina; (3) successful coronary revascularization; (4) a history of uncomplicated myocardial infarction (MI); (5) mild valvular disease; and (6) no symptoms and <3 cardiovascular risk factors. These patients can be safely encouraged to initiate or resume sexual activity or to receive treatment for sexual dysfunction. An important exception is the use of sildenafil in patients taking nitrates in any form. Patients in the intermediate-risk category include those with (1) moderate angina; (2) a recent MI (<6 weeks); (3) left ventricular dysfunction and/or class II congestive heart failure; (4) nonsustained low-risk arrhythmias; and (5) ≥3 risk factors for coronary artery disease. These patients should receive further cardiologic evaluation before restratification into the low- or high-risk category. Finally, patients in the high-risk category include those with (1) unstable or refractory angina; (2) uncontrolled hypertension; (3) congestive heart failure (class III or IV); (4) very recent MI (<2 weeks); (5) high-risk arrhythmias; (6) obstructive cardiomyopathies; and (7) moderate-to-severe valvular disease. These patients should be stabilized by specific treatment for their cardiac condition before resuming sexual activity or being treated for sexual dysfunction. A simple algorithm is provided for guiding physicians in the management of sexual dysfunction in patients with varying degrees of cardiac risk. Copyright (C) 2000 Excerpta Medica Inc.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine